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New Bill on the Right of Access to Information in Morocco

Morocco - Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Moroccan government approved, on 31 July 2014, a new Bill on the right of access to information and submitted it to the Parliament. This comes in the context of the effort to implement Article 27 of the Constitution recognizing that all citizens “have the right of access to information held by the public administration, the elected institutions and the bodies vested with missions of public service.” In reaction to this move, civil society have expressed concerns about the Bill, which was prepared by the Ministry of Public Function and the Modernization of the Administration. It criticized the lack of public participation in drafting the Bill, considering it to be a regression from the previous draft that comprised 40 articles compared to 29 in the new one. It also pointed out a number of weaknesses in the text itself, including the absence of a reference to a national commission mandated to guarantee the right of access to information; the lack of adequate sanctions in case of violation; and the large range of exceptions that enable restrictive interpretations. According to Transparency Maroc, “a first analysis gives the feeling of a text that, instead of organizing the implementation of Article 27 of the Constitution which recognizes explicitly the right of access to information, rather codifies its inaccessibility.” As is the case in Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia have prepared access to information bills which are pending finalization and adoption. As for Jordan and Yemen, they have already enacted such legislation, which would make Morocco the third country to do so if the draft was approved by the Parliament. Civil society in those countries is building on the Position Paper of ACINET’s Non-Governmental Group on the right to information, which outlined key related challenges and provided actionable recommendations on promoting the formulation and implementation of more effective policies and legislation.


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