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Ministers want less strict law on public access

MINISTRIES and state institutions have been interpreting Slovakia’s freedom of information law in a peculiar way, the Sme daily wrote on June 29. During the interdepartmental review of the legislation prepared by the Justice Ministry the ministries developed numerous restrictive proposals.

MINISTRIES and state institutions have been interpreting Slovakia’s freedom of information law in a peculiar way, the Sme daily wrote on June 29. During the interdepartmental review of the legislation prepared by the Justice Ministry the ministries developed numerous restrictive proposals.

“Some of the proposals are literally absurd or shocking,” Peter Wilfling, a lawyer from the Via Iuris association told Sme, adding that the proposals defy the official agenda of the government under which the coalition has promised to push more transparency.

“For instance a proposal to punish [someone] with fines for filing a request if the institution believes that the citizen [who filed the information request] is abusing the law.”

The Personal Data Protection Office has proposed to introduce fines for abusing the law, amounting up to €1,650, Sme reported.

The Economy Ministry led by Juraj Miškov wants to stipulate that those requesting information about wages and remunerations cannot spread that information further or publish it.

The Slovak intelligence service, the SIS, headed by Karol Mitrík requested that its office be completely exempted from the law.

Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic suggested that public officials should not be fined for breaking the law and failure to comply with the law would be a misdemeanour.

Via Iuris activists are warning that the proposed suggestions from the government ministries might make it much more difficult for the public to receive information from state offices.

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