Mekky: Freedom of information law draft to be ready by March

Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky has said on Saturday that the government is preparing a draft freedom of information law that will likely be finished by March.

During one day conference organized by the ministry and aired on Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Mekky said the draft law will establish a national council for information. The minster, however, didn’t give more details about the responsibilities and tasks of the new council.

Mekki added that the ministry is proposing ideas and calling for public input on the draft law.

Earlier, prominent media figure Hamdy Qandil said that he was refusing to take part in a committee established by Mekky to prepare the freedom of information law.

He posted on his Twitter account that he refused because he doesn’t trust the current government.

In November, Mekky said that the ministry was starting to draft a law allowing citizens to request and access government information, and that it would be put up for public dialogue before being passed by the government.

The move comes after repeated demands by human rights activists, academics and journalists to develop a law allowing Egyptians to access information from the state, and for greater transparency on behalf of the government.

Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted media experts as saying that the draft law has many major shortcomings. For example, it stipulates that only legislative and executive authorities have the right to control access to information, meaning that whichever political party controls those branches of government will control the entire information dissemination process.

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