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Council of Freedom of speech endorsed ratification of Tromsø convention (access to official documents)

17.01.2020, 18:02
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The Council on freedom of speech and protection of journalists affiliated to the president of Ukaine endorsed the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (Tromsø Convention). The decision was made at a council meeting on January 16, as the website of the President reported.

The Council on freedom of speech recommended to the Ministry of foreign affairs to submit as soon as possible the necessary documents for ratification of this Convention for signature to the head of state, and to the president to submit a bill on ratification of the Convention to the Parliament.

Nine countries have already ratified the convention as of January 2020 : Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Moldova, Croatia, Montenegro and Lithuania. Eight more countries, including Ukraine, have signed the Tromso Convention but have not ratified it, as Galyna Smirnova, representative of the Council of Europe Office, said at the meeting. 

Given that the Convention enters into force with the tenth ratification, Ukraine can make history by launching this important international instrument, Galyna Smirnova said.

The secretary of the Council of freedom of speech Vadym Misky noted that Ukrainian legislation on access to public information was "one of the most progressive in the world today" and that ratification of the convention would not cause significant legislative changes.

The Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (Tromsø Convention), in particular, guarantees the right of access to official documents held by public authorities, to any person without explaining the reasons and intentions to obtain information, the further use of documents; it establishes a monitoring system to ensure proper and effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention and elaborating the right of access to official documents; contains provisions for taking into account the public interest in the information in the official document and providing the document if that interest outweighs the damage caused by the interests defined by the legislation; establishes an obligation for managing agents to properly handle documents so that they are easily accessible.

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