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Proposed secrecy law threatens openness, says ARTICLE 19

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is a 27 November 2008 ARTICLE 19 press release:

Moldova: Proposed Secrecy Law Threatens Openness

ARTICLE 19 has prepared an in-depth analysis of the draft Law of Moldova on State Secrets. Although the draft Law does include some positive provisions, it fails to establish an appropriate balance between legitimate secrecy interests and the right to information.

The draft Law is due to be tabled for a second reading in Parliament this Thursday. ARTICLE 19 has several key concerns regarding the draft State Secrets Law, including the following:
- The lack of clarity as to the relationship between the secrecy law and the access to information law, including which prevails in case of conflict. The draft Law also envisages the possibility of a request for information being denied simply because the information has been classified.
- The definition of State secrets is overly broad and includes information created and held by private parties, as well as information which is not legitimately secrecy, assessed by reference to a very weak harm test
- The envisaged duration for classification is unduly long.
- The draft Law does not include a public interest override and fails to provide protection to whistleblowers.
- Control over the classification of information is assigned to the security services, posing a threat to the right to information and privacy.

ARTICLE 19 urges the Moldovan authorities to amend the draft Law to address these concerns and to bring it into line with international standards.

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