HK Government must guarantee Right to Information in new legislation

The Hong Kong Law Reform Commission (LRC) has launched a three-month consultation into the public’s access to information and the management of public records, which will feed into access to information legislation. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) have called on the government to ensure all stakeholders are engaged through the drafting process, and that access to information rights are protected in any new legislation.

On December 6, the LRC Access to Information sub-committee published a consultation paper, opening a three-month consultation period on the current status on access to information, particularly government information. The sub-committee has recommended new legislation be drafted and implemented. On the same day, the LRC’s Archives Law sub-committee invited submission on reforms for the current management of public records. This review was based off the current view that an archives law should be introduced to strengthen management, protection and preservation of public records and archives in Hong Kong.

The HKJA issued a statement expressing concerns about the public consultation. The statement said that the consultation was “nothing but a tactic to further delay the introduction of two legislations that are crucial to the monitoring of public servants.” HKJA said that the recommendation from the Access to Information sub-committee was about turning the current non-mandatory code into legislation, without addressing the key inadequacies of the current code, particularly lack of an enforcement authority to monitor its implementation.

The IFJ said: “We join HKJA is raising concerns about the consultation on the proposed legislations and urge the Hong Kong government to ensure the concerns and issues raised through the public consultation are addressed in any legislation. Consulting key stakeholders is vital through the drafting stages to ensure the legislation adequately supports and promotes Access to Information for the Hong Kong people.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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