Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the Ministry of Justice Restrict Access to Public Information

Category : Statements;
The 2017 constitutional amendments retained the provision stating that access to public information may be restricted if the information is a state, commercial, professional or personal secret. This provision specified the types of classified information, while the state took the responsibility not to restrict access to public information without due substantiation. The Ministry of Justice has proposed removing this list of specific types of classified information and replacing it with a wording that is vague and legally faulty.

The Parliament of Georgia has stated that the constitutional amendments are aimed at reflecting the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The initiative proposed by the Ministry of Justice does not serve the same purpose, since the Venice Commission evaluated the Human Rights Chapter of the Constitution alone and did not issue any comments regarding the article the Ministry of Justice has proposed changes to. The Ministry also did not criticize this article in the spring of 2017, when the constitutional reform was ongoing.

We would like to remind the Members of Parliament that Georgia, being the Chair of the Open Government Partnership, is obligated to refine and improve its freedom of information legislation, rather than weaken it. Especially unfortunate is the fact that the proposal to considerably restrict freedom of information in the country belongs to the Ministry of Justice, which serves as the Secretariat of the Open Government Partnership.

We call on the Parliament of Georgia to turn down the proposal offered by the Ministry of Justice, which will limit freedom of information and weaken the right to access to public information in Georgia.

  • Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
  • Georgian Young Lawyers' Association
  • Open Society Georgia Foundation
  • Transparency International Georgia
  • Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center
  • International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
  • Georgian Democracy Initiative
  • Article 42 of the Constitution
  • Civil Development Agency
  • Partnership for Human Rights Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics