Freedom of information ordinance needs to be revised
ISLAMABAD- The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors and journalists, after examining the draft Freedom of Information Ordinance 2000 of Pakistan, has recommended that the ordinance needs to be revised in accordance with international standards on access to information.
The ordinance should have the power to override other laws. Any laws conflicting with this ordinance should be amended to reflect this fact, it said. The IPI, in its initial report, also recommended that the authorities should draw together interested parties for a conference on the subject and use its results to re-draft the law, thus ensuring that all asp” of the ordinance meet with international standards.
The IPI examined the ordinance in light of international standards regarding freedom of information and whether the intended ordinance may have consequences for freedom of the media. It further recommended that the phrase classified should be defined under the ordinance. There should be a duty to publish guidelines and other information on the ordinance. The declaration of the public record should be drafted as widely as possible, it said. In order for the ordinance to meet accepted international standards, substantial amendments need to be undertaken, it said.
The IPI said this is the second draft ordinance on the issue in the last three years. In 1997, a committee drafted a freedom of information ordinance. Since 1997, the proposal for a freedom of information ordinance has been held in abeyance until this year when the present ordinance was drafted and presented to organisations inside review.
Source: The News