Kazakhstan put on top-15 ranking with worst laws on information access

Astana. February 18. KazTAG - Kazakhstan has been put on the list of top 15 states with the worst laws on access to information, reads the analytical report "Provision of access to people and professional media-community to information in Kazakhstan: regions and centers".
According to Global Right to Information Rating (RTI), the law "On information access" does not comply with the international standards and basic principles in the field of freedom of information. The authors of the index estimated the quality of law to 61 points out of possible 150. In the total rating of 123 states, where similar laws were adopted, Kazakhstan has been ranked 109th. Thus, Kazakhstan is among top 15 states with the worst laws on information access," reads the document.
Kazakhstani experts of civil society agree with this estimation.
"The experts of the center of legal policy research believe this estimation is objective and reflects real legal gaps and collisions of law. Experts  said the rating is low due to weak guarantees of performance and protection of rights to information access, incompliance with basic principles on freedom of information," reads the message.
According to the authors of the document, the estimation of specialized international rating demonstrates that the state has not reached compliance.
"NGOs believe the recommendation has not been performed and called the Government of Kazakhstan to bring updates and amendments in the law of Kazakhstan "On access to information", bring it to compliance with the international standards, principles in field of information freedom and take into account the proposals of civil society on this issue," reads the message.
According to experts, the Law of  Kazakhstan “On Access to Information” does not proclaim the principle of openness of all information and does not establish a narrow list of exceptions, as required by the basic principles.
“Instead, the law establishes various categories, for example,“ information with limited access, ” “ information, access to which cannot be limited, ”which does not contribute to changing the culture of secrecy and secrecy of state bodies to a culture of openness and transparency,” said the experts.
It is also noted that the Law “On Access to Information” lacks of guarantee of compliance with the principle of maximum openness of information and proportionality of any restrictions on the right to information, it also has no list of exceptions. The absence of mechanisms to ensure and protect the right of access to information in the law makes it ineffective.
“There are no provisions in the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the establishment of an independent administrative body for  consideration of complaints about unlawful actions of officials in the sphere of access to information; complaints of violation of the right to access information. The Commission for Access to Information is unable to consider complaints of violation or restriction of the right of access to information," reads the document.
There is a low level of punishment for violating or restricting the right for information access provided for by the Administrative Code, which "does not contribute to effective implementation of the law."

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