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Government meetings behind closed doors as phasing out openness and transparency of authorities – IMI’s lawyer

02.09.2019, 17:55
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Decision to not admit the press to the meetings of the Cabinet of ministers is a breach of the requirements of the legislation on information of Ukraine in vigour and is evidence of phasing out of the principles of openness and transparency of public authorities in Ukraine. The IMI lawyer Ali Safarov told it, as he commented the decision of the newly appointed Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk to hold the government meetings behind closed doors. The lawyer recalled that, in compliance with the part one of Article 3 of the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers, the activity of the Cabinet of ministers is based on the principles of the rule of law, legality, separation of state power, continuity, collegiality, joint and several liability, openness and transparency. And Article 25 of the Law "On Information" provides for the right of a journalist to attend any open event of public authorities, to make records, including photo and video recordings, etc. “It is clear that in a belligerent country, Cabinet’s meetings may treat the issues with restricted access - then such a meeting will be closed insofar as it deals with the issues of restricted access. But according to the general rule, defined in the second part of Article 20 of the Law of Ukraine "On Information", all information is open, except in cases specifically defined by the law. The complete closure of all meetings of the government does not meet the general principles of freedom of expression, openness and transparency of the activity of public authorities, as stipulated by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, ”Ali Safarov said. IMI reported, on September 2, at the first meeting of the Cabinet of ministers, the PM Oleksiy Honcharuk announced that the formula for holding the government meetings would be changed, and hence no journalists will be admitted to the meetings. The ministers are to communicate with the press after the cabinet meeting.

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