OSCE Centre supports discussion on access to information legislation in Kazakhstan

June 22. OSCE

OSCE Centre supports discussion on access to information legislation in KazakhstanAdoption of a specific law on access to information in Kazakhstan is the topic of a two-day conference, co-organized by the OSCE Centre, which started in Astana today.

The meeting, jointly organized with the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan, the Presidential Commission on Human Rights, the Ministry of Communication and Information and public foundation Medialife, brings together parliamentarians, representatives of the judiciary, government and non-governmental organizations as well as international and local experts to discuss legal regulations on access to information.

Despite the existence of a number of laws that recognize some kind of right of access to official documents or information, Kazakhstan is among the few OSCE participating States that does not have a specific law in this field yet.

“A specific law ensuring the disclosure of information held by public bodies is critical to securing citizens’ right of access to information and represents an important aspect of the fundamental human right to freedom of expression,” said Stefan Buchmayer, the Human Dimension Officer of the OSCE Centre in Astana. “In this regard, the OSCE welcomes Kazakhstan’s intention to adopt a specific law that would grant citizens the right of access to information and outline the detailed legal procedures.”

Saginber Tursunov, the Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights and a member of Kazakh Parliament, emphasized the importance of a law on access to information, saying: “The adoption of such a law is foreseen in strategic national documents such as the Concept of Legal Policy of Kazakhstan for 2010-2020 and the National Human Rights Action Plan for 2009-2012. We hope that this conference will lay the groundwork for closer co-operation between the government and civil society organizations.”

The event is part of the OSCE Centre’s work with Kazakhstan’s Government and civil society to improve governmental transparency and accountability and the free flow of information by promoting greater access to official information.