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Access-to-information draft law ‘on schedule’

The Ministry of Information and a handful of outside organisations released the first two chapters of the long-awaited access-to-information draft law at its second working group meeting yesterday.

During a two-hour meeting held at the ministry, technical working group members consisting of ministry officials, UNESCO and civil society groups, discussed chapters one and two of the proposed law, which has been in the works since 2007.

The preliminary chapters outline the law’s main objectives, though some of the wording is expected to change before the next meeting.

“We wanted the wording of the objective to be changed,” Advocacy Policy Institute director Neb Sinthay said. “Instead of having ‘public institutions providing information to citizens’ as the primary goal, we want ‘citizens having access to information’ as the priority of this law.”

The draft of chapter three, which will contain the procedure for filing information requests, will be sent out before March 8, said MoI spokesman Ouk Kim Seng. He added that, so far, the law is slated to have eight chapters and 25 articles.

“Everything is on schedule,” said UNESCO spokeswoman and access to info focal point Jamie Lee. “We talked about how we could make our process more effective and what will happen throughout the year.”

The next working group meeting is on April 8.

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