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Ukraine write Freedom of Information Act with help of German experience

Category: by sophie engström, guests, sociala medier, ukraine, Uncategorized
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In today’s issue of Deutsche Welle Olha Wesnjanka writes an interesting article about the situation for freedom of information in Ukraine. Ukraine has a freedom of information legislation from 1996, but it does not include a specification on general right of access to information. The law therefor needs to be improved.

The head of Center for Political and Legal Reforms in Kyiv, Mariana Demkova, implies that to introduce a Freedom of Information Act in Ukraine will take a considerable long time, and this is due to that fact that processes like this are complex. Demkova refers to how the situation was when Germany implemented the Freedom of Information Act. Germany experience number of complex problems that Ukraine can learn from. “For Ukraine it is certainly important and useful to investigate the German experience: what stood in the way of difficulties in developing, how did it go to implement bill and to enforce the law in practice”, Demkova says to Olha Wesnjaka.


Will Ukrainians be able to get more information about
their rulers online in the future?
Photo: Sophie Engström

A group of Ukrainian specialists, headed by deputy Andriy Shevchenko, will therefor go to Germany to meet German collegues and ministers to discuss and learn about the implementation the federal law on freedom of information in Germany. Since the Ukrainian Federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information will visit the Ministry of Economy, which takes care of telecommunications issues, the Ukrainian Pirate Party should feel some concern. ACTA traditionally works very close to ministries in Europe that handle questions like freedom of information.

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Simple-minded portrait of Ukraine

Category: by sophie engström, EU, NGO, ukraine
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It is intrigues to note how international media is covering the aftermath of the Ukrainian Presidential election. I am not considering the political battle, or the long and protracted death struggle by Tymoshenko, but actually how international media looks upon the result. First of all, it seems to me that many journalist in “old media” (to use a concept from the Swedish Pirate movement) seems to have a predilection to depict Ukrainian voters as a hopeless passive group, like silent masses that never would be able to protest against possible violations against human rights or freedoms of speech. In most articles the voters does not even exists! (One example from the leading Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.) It seems to me that many international journalists actually nurse the idea that the orange revolution was created by some kind of misstake. NOT as a protest against something that the Ukrainian voters actually felt humiliated by. This rather retarded interpretation of the situation actually leads to that many journalists seems to think that it is EU that must “save” Ukraine from itself. I would say that Timothy Garton Ash in guardian.co.uk actually nurse this particular perspective.

From his perspective it is important that Europe (which seems to be the same thing as EU for Ash) somehow secure the Ukrainian freedom. In one respect I must give him right, it is really important that EU understands the importance in having good relationship with Ukraine, and it is also important for EU to try to work faster and less obsessed by bureaucracy. But when he diminishes Ukraine to be only its politicians, I am wondering if he actually has understood what has happen during the past five years.

What we have been witnessing during this election is a triumph for democracy, and I am not sure that we should thank EU for that! I fear however that Ash would have preferred a complete capitalist integration, in that extent that Western interests should control all affairs and political life in Ukraine. Some kind of weird capitalistic interpretation of democracy. I can admit that I am as fond of Ash and trust him as much as I like Anders Åslund, which implies serious skepticism. For me it is just too obvious that the iron wall is really high and thick in their minds!

I, however, believe that democratic movements and freedoms of speech will need help during the next coming years, but I also believe that EU is not necessarily the guarantee that we will keep and develop that! What I am hoping for is grassroots initiatives, actions and connections over our boarders! It was actually grass-root movements that made the orange revolution possible, so let’s hope we together can create the best environment for freedom of speech and human rights in Ukraine.

(UPD: Thank you, Olha Wesnjanka for highlighting the article by Ash.)

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