Parliament: NFP Leader questions AG about Freedom of Information Bill

‘Opposition queries A-G’

Nasik Swami

THE FIJI TIMES. Wednesday, April 27, 2016

THE issue of freedom of speech and how it is defined in Fiji’s context has always been central to many debates locally and internationally.

Yesterday, the Opposition used its mandate to question Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on when will Government introduce Bills in Parliament with a view of enacting accountability on freedom of information as per section 150 of the Constitution.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad asked when the Freedom of Information Bill would be brought to Parliament.

In response, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Government was working on the Freedom of Information Bill and it would be tabled in the next session of He said the Bill could not be rushed.

In relation to the Freedom of Information Bill — this is a very large piece of document and indeed a very complicated document — we have done our second draft, we have also sought the assistance of the governance section of UNDP to give the input, this has been forwarded to them, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said the Bill would be tabled as soon as the UNDP reverted with its Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also said the Code of Conduct Bill, which established the rules, processes and procedures for the implementation of the Code of Conduct by the Accountability and Transparency Commission, was to be tabled in Parliament yesterday.

The Bill provides for the implementation of the code of conduct by the Accountability and Transparency Commission.

However, the Bill was not tabled as certain motions chewed up Parliament’s time.

Freedom of Information Bill: Chapter 8, Section 150 of the 2013 Constitution states that a written law shall make provision for the exercise by a member of the public of the right to access official information and documents held by the Government and its agencies.