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President signed the amendment to the Access to Public Information Act

President signed the amendment to the Access to Public Information Act. Last week non-governmental organisations, including the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish Chamber of Press Publishers, the Stefan Batory Foundation, the E-state Foundation and Article 61 Association urged the President to veto the amendment or launch its constitutional review.

By way of reminder, during the legislative works on the amendment in July, the Sejm took account of certain comments made by NGOs and drafted a compromise modification of the Access to Public Information Act. However, a last-minute alteration of the proposed amendment, submitted by Senator Marek Rocki and accepted by the Senate, resulted in a return to the original version of the act. The amendment was adopted by the Sejm on 16 September 2011 despite objections voiced by numerous non-governmental bodies.

Third sector activists are concerned not only over the mode in which the alteration has been made but also the reasoning behind it. ‘To be lawfully introduced, a limitation of access to public information under Article 61(3) of the Polish Constitution which is based on a material economic interest of the State requires assessment of such a material economic interest and legitimacy of the limitation itself. The adopted amendment to the Access to Public Information Act imposes a general prohibition to disclose information which is not subject to the above safeguards’, reads the statement.


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