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Malta: Preparing to introduce Freedom of Information Act

Malta is preparing a freedom of Information Act, and thus one of the last countries in the EU without any wob is preparing to join the club of wob-countries.

According to the Malta Independent Online prime minister Lawrence Gonzis cabinet decided to put forward a bill for a freedom of information act. The act, Dr Gonzi told the Malta Independent, would be one of the first items to be put up for debate once Parliament reconvenes on 10 May.

Administration will be streamlined to provide transparency, as the parliament also is expected to take a Public Administration and a Central Registry Act on the agenda.

The Freedom of Information Act, Dr Gonzi told the Malta Independent, would give citizens more rights in accessing information held by the government, information kept currently under the government’s lock and key.

The legislation is inspired by similar acts in other countries aswell as a white paper issued last year and commented by journalist organisations and others. The basic substance of last summer’s freedom of information white paper, he said, would be preserved, while also reflecting proposed amendments, such as comments from the Broadcasting Authority, which pointed to certain types of information that still needed to be considered confidential and which should accordingly be kept on the ‘off limits’ list.

According to Times of Malta the prime minister considers the Freedom of Information Act “a breakthrough” for good governance in Malta.

Malta is among the last countries in the EU, that have no Freedom of Information Act at all - except for the legislation on access to environmental issues introduced by the EU.

Brigitte Alfter




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