Justice Ministry-proposed Constitutional Amendments to Worsen Access to Public Information

13 Dec, 2017

As far as we know, upon the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, the Parliament of Georgia is expected to make an amendment to the newly adopted constitution and worsen the constitutional standard of access to public information.

The constitutional amendments adopted in 2017 have maintained the wording in the Georgian constitution, according to which access to public information may be restricted only if it contains state, professional, commercial or personal secret. This wording has precisely defined the types of secret information and the State committed itself not to restrict access to public information unreasonably. The Justice Ministry’s initiative envisages removal of this list of secret information from the constitution and its replacement by an obscure and faulty norm.

We would like to note that the Parliament of Georgia named incorporation of the Venice Commission recommendations in the constitution as the key task of ongoing constitutional amendments. The Justice Ministry’s proposal goes beyond this task. The Venice Commission has assessed the constitution’s human rights chapter and did not voice even a single remark on the article amending of which is now demanded by the Justice Ministry. In addition, let us emphasize that neither did the Justice Ministry voice public criticism against this article in spring 2017, when the constitutional reform process was already over.

Let us remind the lawmakers that Georgia has assumed the chairmanship of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Thus, not only the country should not worsen its legislation on public information, but it should direct its efforts to further develop and improve it. It is especially regretful that just the Ministry of Justice – an agency that performs the functions of the OGP Secretariat – demands sharp worsening of free access to public information.

We call on the Parliament of Georgia to demonstrate wisdom and not to approve the Justice Ministry’s proposal restricting freedom of information and containing high risks of disproportionate interference with the right of access to public information.


The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

Open Society Georgia Foundation

Transparency International – Georgia

Georgian Young Lawyers Association

Human Rights and Monitoring Center

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy

Georgian Democracy Initiative

Article 42 of the Constitution

Civil Development Agency

Partnership for Human Rights

Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics