A fifth inter-ministerial meeting was held on Wednesday to continue reviewing and discussing the first draft of the Access to Information Law, even as civil society called on the ministries to accelerate its discussions.
Following the meeting, which was led by the Ministry of Information, its spokesman Meas Sophorn told The Post that there are two remaining tasks – a direct dialogue between it and the Ministry of Justice on Chapter 7 (regarding penalties) and a final meeting to compile what had been agreed on during all the meetings.
“During the discussion, we added some points to our initial draft, but not many. We just added some words, phrases and some points for the law to be easily understandable."
“We hope that the first draft law’s review and discussion at the inter-ministerial level will be finished shortly, so we can go on to the next proceedings,” he said.
In January last year, a technical working group consisting of Ministry of Information officials, Unesco, civil society and journalism experts was formed to create the first draft.
In February, the Ministry of Information announced that it, as well as the government, was willing to speed up discussions with other relevant ministries and institutions.
“[We] believe the draft law will be submitted for legislation branch approval in the near future,” announced the ministry.
Cambodian Centre for Independent Media director Nop Vy was not aware of any changes made to the first draft law during the meetings.
“This law is important in practice for the societal participation of individuals,” said Vy.
The first draft law on access to information consists of nine chapters and 38 articles and is designed to give the public the right and freedom to access information that the government’s ministries and institutions are obliged to provide.
Vy called on the relevant ministries to keep the first draft law’s original content as previously agreed following the discussions with civil society groups.