Open Access.. Arab regional lessons drawn from information access laws in Jordan and Tunisia

Date : Monday, 3 January, 2022
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Prepared and edited by AFTE’s Research Unit

Table of contents

Methodology

Introduction and background about the status of freedom of information around the world

Jordan’s experience

  • First: In theory (articles of the law):
  • Second: In terms of application

Tunisia’s experience

  • First: In terms of legal texts
  • Second: In terms of application

Conclusion

Methodology

This paper focuses on extrapolating and analyzing some regional cases regarding the issuance of laws regulating the information access. It takes Tunisia and Jordan as examples, monitoring the legislative context prior to the issuance of their laws. The paper analyzes Jordan’s Law No. 47 of 2007 on the right to access information and a number of laws that contradict that right, such as the Protection of State Secrets and Documents Law No. 50 of 1971. It also analyzes Decree No. 41 of 2011, which was amended by Decree No. 54 of 2011, as well as Tunisia’s Law No. 22 of 2016 on the right to access to information, and Tunisian Archives Law No. 95 of 1988.

In terms of standards and best practices, the paper also relies on the “guide to implement the law on guaranteeing the right to access information in public institutions” and the “guide to access information for the bodies subject to the organic law on the right of access to information”[1] as two basic references for laying the foundations/general principles of the information access law, in addition to the “Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information (The Tshwane Principles)”.

Introduction and background about the status of freedom of information around the world

The right to access information is one of the basic rights associated with other rights such as freedom of expression. It has an effective role in combating corruption. Since the second half of the 20th century, a global trend has begun with the issuance of laws that support freedom of information, starting from the United States in 1966, passing through India in 1982, and the United Kingdom and South Africa in 2000. According to a statement issued by a group of European organizations on the International Right to Know Day in September 2016, more than 100 countries around the world had issued laws related to freedom of information.[2]

As for the Middle East and North Africa, Jordan was the first Arab country to issue a law on information access No. 47 of 2007, followed by Tunisia with Law No. 41 of 2011, which was amended by Law No. 22 of 2016, then Lebanon with Law No. 28 of 2017, and finally Yemen in 2021.

In this study, we seek to provide a reading of the experiences of a number of Arab countries in issuing laws on information access in order to benefit from them. We will look into the experiences of Jordan and Tunisia, the first two Arab countries that issued laws on information access, both from a theoretical perspective with regard to laws, and the extent of the seriousness/effectiveness of the application of these laws. These laws intertwine together to achieve a smooth and sustainable access to information, such as the law, its quality and applicability; information seekers/beneficiaries of the law; and the regulatory procedures undertaken by the state regarding the application of the law (orientation).

Lessons should be drawn from the Jordanian and Tunisian experiences when enacting new laws or amending existing ones to regulate the access to information, whether in the Arab world or elsewhere. In Egypt, we need to make progress in this regard. Since the 25 January 2011 revolution, there have been multiple attempts to come up with a law on information access in Egypt, but none of which has been successful. The previous parliament, during its 2015-2020 term, paid attention to issuing laws on cybercrimes and the protection of personal data, which included restrictions on freedom of expression, privacy, and the access to information. We hope the current parliament (2021-2026) will place the law on information access on its agenda, especially after it was included in the National Human Rights Strategy launched by the President of the Republic.

Jordan’s experience

Although Jordan was a pioneer in issuing a law on information access, things did not go as expected, as information access in Jordan still faces many legal and procedural obstacles related to application[3]. The Jordanian legislative structure has gone through many steps that fluctuated between information accessibility and inaccessibility. The Protection of State Secrets and Documents Law No. 50 of 1971 is a key obstacle to information access in Jordan. Articles 3[4] to 8 of the law classifies documents between “top secret” and “restricted”.

Article 10 of the law states: “With due regard to the provisions of any other law, all other official documents that are not covered by the provisions of this law are considered ordinary, and the official must preserve the ordinary documents and protect them from tampering or loss, and their content may not be disclosed to non-concerned persons unless the documents have been authorized to be published.”

Historically, Jordanian legislation has progressed in dealing with and regulating access to information. The National Charter, drafted in 1990, is one of the first laws that referred directly to the right of citizens to access information[5]. Then, the Publications Law No. 10 of 1993 explicitly prohibited the publication of news that harms the king or the royal family[6]. Article 38 of the law stated: “Whoever wishes to print a book in the Kingdom must submit two copies of the manuscript of this book to the Press and Publications Department before printing it. The director of the department may allow or disallow the printing of the book if it contains anything that conflicts with the law, provided he communicates his decision to the author of the book within 14 days from the date of its submission. The author or the publisher of the book may appeal the director’s decision to the Supreme Court of Justice.”

The Publications Law was abolished five years after it was put into force, as Law No. 8 of 1998 was issued and was later amended by Law No. 30 of 1999, which can be considered relatively better than Law 10 of 1993 with regard to freedom of information. However, the new law contains a number of articles that restrict freedom of information. For example, Article 49 stipulates that websites must obtain a license, and they could be blocked in case of violating the law.[7]

Finally, Law No. 47 of 2007 was issued to guarantee the right to access information. It was the first law in the Arab world to refer directly to the right to access information. Despite the flaws in the law, it was considered a positive step in terms of recognizing the right of citizens in general to access information.

First: In theory (articles of the law):

Priority of the legislation in force

Subject to the provisions of the applicable legislation, the official in charge shall refrain from the disclosure of the information related to:

  1. The secrets and documents protected under another legislation
  2. The documents classified as confidential and protected and to be granted by an agreement with another country
  3. The secrets related to national defense, state security or foreign policy
  4. The information that includes analysis, recommendations, proposals or consultations to be submitted to the official in charge before a decision is made in their concern. This includes the correspondences or information exchanged between the different governmental departments
  5. The personal information and files related to educational or medical persons, professional records, bank accounts and transfers and professional confidentialities
  6. The correspondences with personal or confidential nature, whether in the form of post, cable, phone call or any other technological means, with governmental departments and the replies thereto
  7. The information whose disclosure will affect negotiations between the Kingdom and any other state or authority
  8. The investigations conducted by the public prosecution, the judicial system, or security authorities into any crime or proceeding falling within their jurisdiction, as well as investigations conducted by the relevant authorities with the aim of revealing financial, customs, or bank-related offences, unless the relevant authority authorizes their disclosure
  9. Commercial, industrial, financial, or economic information, and information on tenders or scientific research whose disclosure would lead to an infringement of copyright, intellectual property rights, or fair and lawful competition practices, or to an irregular profit or loss for anyone

Article 13 of Law No. 47 of 2007 on the protection of the right to access information

The law gives priority to the legislation in force in Jordan at the expense of the information access law, which indicates the weakness of the law, especially in light of the existing laws that restrict freedom of information. These include the aforementioned Protection of State Secrets and Documents Law No. 50 of 1971 and the Publications Law.

This is reflected in Article 13 of Law No. 47 of 2007, which makes the exception a basic rule within the law, as if it were just a framework regulating access to information, and not the other way around. The Article states: “Without prejudice to the provisions of the legislation in force, the person responsible for access to information should refrain from disclosing information on:”

The law, moreover, does not have a mechanism to classify confidential documents (secret – top secret – prohibited), provided that information shall be available within reasonable periods of time, based on the classification mentioned in the Protection of State Secrets and Documents Law[8], a classification that is characterized by a great deal of unfairness, as it considers most of the information under its umbrella as restricted/secret/top secret and inaccessible.

For example, Article 8 of Law No. 50 of 1970 classifies information or protected documents that contain information as “restricted” if it contains:

  1. Any information whose disclosure to persons not authorized to have access to would lead to the detriment of the interests of the country, form an embarrassment to it, cause administrative or economic difficulties to it or be of benefit to a foreign country or any other party which may reflect a detriment on the country
  2. Any documents relating to an administrative or criminal investigation, trials, tenders or general financial or economic affairs, unless the disclosure of the content thereof is permissible
  3. Military intelligence reports, unless they fall within another higher classification
  4. Reports which, if disclosed, may demoralize the citizens unless its publication is permitted

The independence of the Information Council

The Information Council, which is responsible for receiving requests for access to information, lacks independence. Article 3 of Law No. 47 of 2007 stipulates that members of the Council should include the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Culture, and the Director of National Guidance in the Armed Forces. The Council does not include representatives from civil society organizations or the private sector[9]. The Council’s decisions regarding grievances are not binding to the state bodies.

The restrictions on information access

With regard to requests for access to information, the law stipulates the necessity of a legitimate interest or a legitimate reason[10]. This restricts freedom of information, especially in light of the ambiguity of the entity that determines the eligibility of information requesters and the criteria for their right to access information.

The deadline

Article 9 of the law sets a 30-day deadline to respond to requests for access to information.

5. The lack of penalties for preventing access to information

The law does not consider the imposition of deterrent penalties on officials responsible for providing information in the event of delay or refusal to provide information without giving objective reasons, something which can be considered a key factor in restricting access to information in Jordan.

Second: In terms of application

  1. Not using technology in responding to requests for access to information: Citizens use paper forms to submit their requests for access to information, while these forms are not available at a large number of government institutions/ministries.
  2. Periodic disclosure: The Information Commission does not release a periodic report to show the institutions’ activity in relation to the application of the information access law. Article 4 of the law stipulates that the Information Council is required to prepare a report on the performance of information access, and submit it to the Council of Ministers only.
  3. Lack of interest in spreading awareness about the importance of information access: There is still a need to spread awareness about the procedures supposed to be applied to deal with requests for access to information among employees of the Jordanian state agencies. Article 4 of the law stipulates that the Information Council is required to “issue bulletins and carry out appropriate activities to explain and promote a culture of the right to know and to have access to information”.

During the Arab Spring that swept the region in 2011, intentions to amend the law in a way that would allow a better performance with regard to the availability of information began to emerge. In 2012, the Council of Ministers introduced some amendments to the law, which were not approved by the House of Representatives. Then, the amendments were referred to a joint committee, which did not agree on the proposed amendments. Therefore, the amendments were not put into effect.

Then, the cybercrimes law[11], issued in 2015, came to restrict access to information. For example, Article 12 of it states: “a. Anyone who intentionally and without authorization or in violation or excess of an authorization accesses a website or an information system in any manner with the purpose of viewing data or information that is not available to the public and which affects national security, foreign relations of the Kingdom, general security or national economy, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not less than four months and by a fine not less than (500) five hundred dinars and not exceeding (5,000) five thousand dinars.”

In 2019, there was talk again about amending the information access law, as the Council of Ministers approved some amendments to the law. These amendments included reducing the deadline for responding to requests for access to information to ten days, and amending the line-up of the Information Council to ensure a greater balance between the government and civil society organizations. The House of Representatives, however, has not ratified these amendments so far.

Tunisia’s experience

“The National Archives is responsible for collecting and preserving the archives related to Tunisia and which are available abroad, and enabling the public to access them.”

Article 38 of Law No. 95 of 1988 on Archives

The legislative structure in Tunisia is largely prepared for the issue of information access. For example, the Tunisian authorities issued Law No. 95 of 1988 regarding the National Archives. The law mainly reinforces the importance of preserving documents and facilitating public access to them – Article 38 of the law – in contrast to the situation in Jordan, as we mentioned at the beginning of this paper, in addition to Egypt, as we mentioned in the paper issued by AFTE under the title: “Top secret .. How did laws restrict the circulation of information in Egypt?”[12]. The legislative structure in both Jordan and Egypt contributes to restricting the circulation of information, and to the continuation of the culture of confidentiality even in the presence of a basic law on the right to access information, as in the case of Jordan.

Article 37 of Law No. 95 of 1988 on archives in Tunisia states: “The National Archives shall exercise the following powers:

  • Compiling and preserving the final archive of these public utilities and agencies, conducting technical preparation for it, and enabling the public to access it
  • Preparing and providing research tools that facilitate the empowerment of archive beneficiaries
  • Organizing access to the archive and working to highlight its cultural and educational value using all appropriate means

Following the outbreak of the revolution in Tunisia in 2011, the law on information access was at the top of the priorities of the government and the civil society organizations at the time. The law was important in combating corruption and upholding the values ​​of transparency and community participation, the absence of which was considered one of the key factors that led to the outbreak of the revolution in the first place. Thus, Decree No. 41 of 2011, which was amended by Decree No. 54 of 2011, was issued under the title “the right to access administrative documents”.[13]

Unlike Egypt, which approved the right to access information in its 2012 constitution, which was amended in 2014, and has not approved a law on information access until now, Tunisia passed a law on the circulation of information first, then the right to access information was established for the first time in the 2014 constitution. Article 32 of the constitution states: “The state guarantees the right to information and the right to access information. The state seeks to guarantee the right to access communication networks.”[14]

The decree issued in 2011 was criticized for being limited to the administrative documents of public institutions[15], but it was amended by Law No. 22 of 2016[16], which theoretically included a number of advantages as follows:

First: In terms of legal texts

  • Proactive/periodic disclosure

Article 6 of the law stipulates the periodic publication of information concerning the public, in addition to the expanded definition of that information, which has been divided in detail into (services/programs and policies/statistics).[17]

  • Procedures of requests for access to information

The section on “access to information on request” starting from Article 9 to Article 13 of the law includes detailed procedures for how to submit requests for access to information. These include the basic data required to be written in the request form. One of the advantages of that section is that it does not require the applicants to mention the reasons for obtaining information[18]. Article 9 also allows submitting the applications either electronically or on paper.

  • The deadline to respond to requests for access to information

The law set a deadline not exceeding 20 days for responding to requests submitted by citizens to access information. It sets a special deadline of 48 hours in case the request would have consequences on the life or the freedom of a person.

  • Exceptions: Although a number of exceptions have been made with regard to the application of the law on the right to access information, these exceptions are governed by a number of guarantees, the most important of which is obtaining permission/judicial review. However, these fields are not regarded as absolute exceptions to the right of access to information. Rather, they are subject to a number of tests, namely the “test of damage” and the “test of public interest”. This means that it is not possible to refuse to provide information related to the aforementioned fields except in case the damage that would result from access to information is serious, whether it is concomitant or posterior. This means that if the benefits of accessibility are greater than the expected damage, the information can be made available. The public interest of accessibility or inaccessibility may include, for example, exposing corruption cases, improving the use of public funds, and enhancing accountability.

Moreover, a timeframe has been set for information that is excluded from the provisions of the information access law. Such information becomes accessible after the expiry of the deadlines stipulated by the legislation in force related to archives.

  • The independence of the Authority of Access to Information

According to Article 41 of Law No. 22 of 2016[19] on the Right of Access to Information, the Authority of Access to Information, which is responsible for following up on the commitment to provide information and looking into complaints submitted to it by access requesters, is composed of a number of experts and independents in various fields as follows:

  • An administrative judge
  • A legal judge
  • A member of the national council of statistics
  • A university professor specialized in information technology
  • An expert in administrative documents and archives
  • A lawyer
  • A journalist
  • A representative of the authority of protection of personal data
  • A representative of associations operating in related fields

 

 

The method of appointing members is also very flexible, as it is not imposed from above – that is, from the executive authority – but is carried out through candidacy and election.

  • Appeal against rejection of request for access to information

Articles 29 to 31 stipulate that applicants have the right to appeal against the decision to reject their requests for access to information, through three stages

  • First: Making an appeal to the head of the concerned body within a deadline not exceeding 20 days following the decision notification, provided that a response shall be given within 10 days.
  • Second: Making an appeal to the Authority of Access to Information within 20 days of rejecting the request, provided that a response shall be given within a maximum of 45 days. The Authority’s decisions shall be binding to the concerned body.
  • Third: Making an appeal to the Administrative Court within 30 days following the decision notification.

Second: In terms of application

Although the law has a good text, its application – like any other law – requires more flexibility and political will, as well as trained personnel and infrastructure qualified to implement it optimally, as follows:

  1. There was not enough awareness in government agencies regarding access to information, whether in theory related to the recently issued law, or in terms of how the law is applied, or the procedures stipulated by the law regarding the accessibility of information in various government sectors.
  2. Article 32[20] of the Law on the Right of Access to Information provides for the appointment of a delegate to the various government bodies to receive and respond to requests for access to information. However, according to Tunisian civil society organizations, “there is no response when applying for access to information, whether via mail or the hotline. When receiving a response, the employee does not usually have sufficient knowledge about how to respond to such requests”.[21]
  3. Article 6 of the law stipulates the periodic publication of information that pertains to the public. However, the challenge in applying this article has to do with the weak technological infrastructure to achieve the principle of periodic dissemination of information.

Conclusion

Although Jordan was the first Arab country to issue a law on information access (Law No. 47 of 2007), followed by Tunisia (Law No. 41 of 2011), there is still a need for further progress in terms of optimal standards of the right to access information.

We share these conclusions in an attempt to avoid the transformation of the long-awaited information access law in Egypt from a tool that would enable citizens to access information to a tool that would consolidate a culture of information confidentiality. We hope that we will apply the best practices/standards of information access.

In terms of the scope of application, Law No. 31 of 2011 in Tunisia was limited to government documents only, until it was amended by Law No. 22 of 2016. The application of the law on the ground, however, still faces some challenges, including the need to raise public awareness about the law in both countries, in order to enable citizens to get their rights and help employees to fulfill those rights.

Regarding the process of requesting access to information, there have been positive developments in the Tunisian case, represented in the possibility of submitting applications either online or on paper. Online application, however, is still lacked in Jordan, which could result in further reluctance to exercise that right.

[1] Authority of Access to Information, “Guide to access information for the bodies subject to the organic law on the right of access to information”, 2016, last visited in October 2021, link: https://www.oecd.org/mena/governance/access- to-information-guide-for-public-servants-tunisia-arabic.pdf

[2] Access Info Europe, “Statement by European RTI Community on the world’s First Official Access to Information Day!” September 2018. Accessed in July 2021. Link:https://www.access-info.org/2016-09-28/statement-by-european-rti-community-on-the-worlds-first-official-access-to-information-day/

[3] Toby Mendel, “A Guide to Implementing the Law on Guaranteeing the Right to Access Information in Public Institutions”, Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, 2015, last visited in September 2021, link: https://cdfj.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11 /ATI-Giudebook.pdf

[4] Article 3 of Law on Protection of State Secrets and Documents No. 50 of 1971 stipulates that protected secrets or documents shall be classified as ‘strictly confidential’ if it contains: a. Any information the disclose of its content to persons whose nature of work does not require access thereto, retaining or possessing thereof would lead to the occurrence of serious damage to the internal or external security of the State or (provide) great benefit to any other State which would form or may form a threat to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. b. Plans and details of military operations, public security or general intelligence measures or any plan of general relation to military operations or internal security measures, whether related to economy, production, supply, construction or transportation. c. Highly important and serious political documents relating to international relations, agreements, conventions and all relating discussions and studies therewith. d. Information and documents relating to the methods of military intelligence, general intelligence, counter intelligence, espionage resistance or any information affecting the sources of military intelligence and general intelligence or persons working therein. e. Very important information relating to arms, ammunition or any other source of defence force whose disclosure forms a threat to the internal or external security of the State.

[5] Yehia Choucair, “Access to Information in the Arab World,” ARIJ for Investigative Journalism, 2018, last visited in September 2021, link: https://arij.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/%D8%AD%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B5%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9.pdf

[6] Article 40 of Publications Law No. 10 of 1993 states: a. The publication is prohibited from publishing news, articles, analyses, information, reports, drawings, pictures or any other form of publication if it: 1. offends the king or the royal family, 2. pertains to the Jordanian armed forces or security services, unless such material has been cleared for publication by the appropriate authority or the government's official spokesman, 3. disparages religions and creeds whose freedom is provided for in the constitution, 4. harms national unity or incites criminal action or foments hatred, discord and disharmony among members of society, 5. offends the dignity or personal freedoms of individuals or harms their reputation, 6. involves derogatory, libelous, or abusive remarks about Arab, Islamic, or friendly heads of state, or sours the kingdom's relations with other nations, 7. promotes perversion or leads to moral corruption, 8. features false news or rumors detrimental to the public interest or state agencies or their personnel, 9. contains the minutes of the secret sessions of the National Assembly, 10. government documents of a concealed nature, 11. shakes confidence in the national currency. b. the entry of publications from abroad is prohibited if they include what is prohibited from being published in this law or any other law.

[7] Article 49 of Publications Law No. 30 of 1998 states: “Despite any provision in this law or any other legislation: A- 1. If the activity of the electronic publication is to publish news, investigations, articles and comments related to the internal or external affairs of the Kingdom, this publication shall be registered and licensed by a decision of the director, and the owner of the electronic publication must regularize his status according to the provisions of this law within a period not exceeding 90 days from the date of his notification about the director’s decision. 2. If the owner of the website is unknown, or his address is outside the Kingdom, he shall be notified of the director’s decision issued in accordance with the provisions of Clause 1 of this paragraph by publishing in two local daily newspapers, for one time. 3. The director’s decision issued in accordance with the provisions of Clause 1 of this paragraph may be appealed before the Supreme Court of Justice by registration and licensing in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph A. B- If the website becomes obligated to be registered and obtain a license in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph A of this Article, all applicable legislation related to the press publication shall apply to it. C- Comments published in the electronic publication are considered press material for the purposes of the responsibility of the electronic publication, its owner and editor-in-chief jointly. D- The electronic publication should not publish comments if they contain information or facts not related to the topic of the news or have not been verified or constitute a crime under the provisions of this law or any other law. E- The electronic publication shall keep a special record of the published comments, provided that this record includes all the information related to the senders of the comments and the material of the comment for a period of no less than six months. Punishment of the electronic publication, its owner, editor-in-chief, and writer of the press material when violating the provisions of this law does not relieve the writer of the comment from the legal responsibility in accordance with the legislation in force for what is stated in his comment. G- The director must block unlicensed websites in the Kingdom if they violate the provisions of this law or any other law.

[8] Article 14 of Law 47 of 2007 on the Right to Access Information states: “a. Each  department  shall  index  and  organize  the  information  and  documents  as  per professional  and  technical  practices  and  classify  the  part  thereof  as  confidential  and protected according to the legislation in force within a period not exceeding three months as of the date of their being gazetted. b. In case the execution of the provisions of Paragraph (a) of the this Article is incomplete within the period set forth, the official in charge shall obtain the approval of the Prime Minister for extending this period for a period not exceeding three months.”

[9] Article 3 of Law 47 of 2007 on the Right to Access Information states: “A board shall be formed by virtue of the herein Law under the name of (Information Council), to be formed as follows: 1. Minister of Culture, chairman 2. Information Commissioner, vice-chairman 3. Secretary General of Ministry of Justice, member 4. Secretary General of Ministry of Interior, member 5. Secretary General of the Supreme Media Council, member 6. Director of Public Statistics Department, member 7. Director of National Information Technology Center, member 8. Director of the Armed Forces’ National Guidance, member 9. Human Rights Commissioner, member.”

[10] Dr. Nahla Momani, “For a Regulatory and Legislative Environment Supportive of Freedom of the Press and Media in the Arab World,” International Federation of Journalists, May 2020, last visited in October 2021, link: https://www.ifj.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Rapport_- EN-les_legislations_encadrant_le_droit_a_l_information_et_la_cybercriminalite_et_leurs_applications_aux_journalistes_et_aux_medias..pdf

[11] Jasmine Omar, "Access to information in Jordan", The Tahrir Institute for Middle East policy, Accessed in September 2021, Link: https://timep.org/explainers/access-to-information-in-jordan/

[12] AFTE, “Top secret .. How did laws restrict the circulation of information in Egypt?”, 15 November 2021, last visited on 12 December 2021, link: https://afteegypt.org/en/legislations-en/legislative-analysis-en/2021/11/21/26002-afteegypt.html

[13] Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center, “The Right to Access Information: Legislation Throes and Implementation Challenges”, September 2019, last visited in November 2021, link: https://daamdth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10 /data-access-1.pdf

[14] Article 32 of Tunisia’s 2014 Constitution, link: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Tunisia_2014.pdf?lang=ar

[15] Ibid

[16] May El Sadany. “Access to information in Tunisia”. The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. June 2021. Accessed in October 2021. Link: https://timep.org/explainers/access-to-information-in-tunisia/

[17] Article 6 of Law No. 22 of 2016 on the right to access information states: “The bodies subject to the provisions of the law herein, are held to publish, update, place periodically at the disposal of the public, in a usable form, the following information: - the policies and programs that concern the public, - the detailed list of services provided to the public, the certificates which it issues to the citizens and the necessary documents for their obtaining, the conditions, deadlines, procedures, parts and stages of their performances, - the legal, regulatory and explanatory texts governing its activity, - the functions which are assigned to it, its organization chart, the address of its principal headquarters and all its secondary headquarters, the way of access and communication with it and the detailed budget which was allocated to, - the information relating to its programs and especially the achievements in relation to its activity, - the list of names of the chargés of access to information, comprising the data provided for in the first paragraph of Article 32 of the law herein and their professional electronic addresses, - the list of documents available electronically or on paper relating to the provided services and the resources which were prescribed for it, - the conditions of granting the authorizations provided by the body, - the programmed public deals whose budget was approved, which the body counts to clinch and the expected results of their implementation, - the reports of the control authorities in accordance with the international professional standards, - agreements that the State intends to join or ratify, - statistical, economic and social data including the results and reports of detailed statistical censuses in accordance with requirements of the law relating to the census, - any information relating to the public finance including the detailed data related to the budget at the central, regional and local levels, the data relating to the public debt and the national accounts, the distribution of the public expenditure and the principal indicators of the public finance, - the available information relative to social programs and services.”

[18] Article 11 of Law No. 22 of 2016 on the right to access information states: “The applicant of access to information is not required to mention in the request access the reasons or the interest justifying his request.”

[19] Article 41 of Law No. 22 of 2016 on the right to access information states: “The Authority council is composed of nine (9) members, as follows: - An administrative judge, chairman, - A legal judge, vice-chairman, - A member of the national council of statistics, member, - A university professor specialized in information technology, having a grade of professor of higher education or lecturer, member, - An expert in administrative documents and archives, member, - A lawyer, member, - A journalist, member. They shall imperatively justify an experience of at least ten (10) years of effective work, at the date of submission of the candidature; - A representative of the authority of protection of personal data, having assumed responsibility for a period of at least two (2) years, member, - A representative of associations operating in fields related to access to information, member. He shall have occupied a position of responsibility for a period of at least two (2) years, within one of these associations.”

[20] Article 32 of Law No. 22 of 2016 on the right to access information states: “Any body subject to the provisions of the law herein, shall designate a responsible for access to information and his substitute by decision taken for this effect, comprising the principal data allowing to identify their identities, their grades and theirs functional employment.”

[21] May El Sadany. Ibid.
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