President Áder vetoed controversial bill limiting freedom of information
On 30th April, 2013, in an extraordinary process within 24 hours, the Hungarian Parliament adopted an amendment to the Act CXII of 2011 on the Right of Informational Self-Determination and Freedom of Information. The amendment aimed to restrict citizen’s access to public interest data by not equal to controlling data to the extent and in the depth supervisory authorities as specified in the law do. Obstructing citizens’ right to access public information reasoned by alleged abusive data requests resulting in an incommensurate workload of authorities and other bodies possessing such data as the explanation of the amending law says runs counter to what Transparency International Hungary, K-Monitor watchdog for public funds, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and atlatszo.hu investigative portal are struggling for.
Transparency International Hungary, K-Monitor watchdog for public funds, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and atlatszo.hu investigative portal are convinced that the amendment of the law on freedom of information discredits all previous stances of the government to stop corruption. Therefore we decided to quit the anti-corruption working group coordinated by the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration. The organisations also launched a petition to President János Áder to not sign the amendment.
In his Wednesday decision János Áder sent back the amendment to the Parliament, “It gives public service entities excessive right to decide what qualifies as “abusive demand” of information”, he said. Since the president missed to send the bill to the Constitutional Court, next time the Parliament is able to vote the amendment into law without any change.