Country

Albania

Albania

Name of law : Law No. 119/2014 on the Right to Information
First adopted : 1999
Last modified : 18 September 2014
RTI Rating last updated : 21 November 2016

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 6
Scope 30 29
Requesting procedures 30 26
Exceptions 30 27
Appeals 30 23
Sanctions 8 6
Promotional measures 16 10
TOTAL 150 127

Introduction:
Previous to the 2014 changes, the law was know as Law No. 8503, dated 30.6.1999, \"On the right of access to official documents\".
Right of Access

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 YES Article23 of Albanian Consitution :\" 1.The right to information is guaranteed. 2.Everyone has the right, in compliance with law, to obtain information about the activity of state organs, and of persons who exercise state functions. Link to constitution (English version) http://www.km.gov.al/skedaret/1231927768-Constitution%20of%20the%20Republic%20of%20Albania.pdf Albanian Consitution - Official version (in Albanian) http://www.gjykataelarte.gov.al/previewdoc.php?file_id=1298
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Article 2 Paragraph 2: \" “Public information” is any data recorded in any form or format, during discharge of the public function, whether or not prepared by a public authority\".
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 YES Article 1 Paragraph 2: \"The rules contained in this law are designated to ensure the public access to information, in the framework of assuming the rights and freedoms of the individual in practice, as well as establishing views on the state and society situation\" Article 1 Paragraph 3: \"This Laws aims to promote integrity, transparency and accountability of public authorities\".




Scope

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Article3.Paragraph 1: \"Any person enjoys the right to access public information, not being subject to explain the motives.\" Article2.Paragraph3: “Person means any natural or legal person, local or foreign, as well as any stateless persons”
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES Article2.Paragraph2:“Public information is any data recorded in any form or format, during discharge of the public function, whether or not prepared by a public authority”.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES Article3.Paragraph3: “Every person has the right to access public information, by receiving the original document or a copy of it in the form or format allowing full access to the content of the document.”
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES Article2.Paragraph1.ItemA: ”Public authority: is any administrative body provided for in the current legislation on administrative procedures, legislative bodies, legislative, judicial and prosecution bodies at any level, local government units at any level, state authorities and public entities, created by the Constitution or by law” The law covers all the executive branch on all levels and any authority or public entity created by the Constitution or by law
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Article2.Paragraph1.ItemA: ”Public authority: is any administrative body provided for in the current legislation on administrative procedures, legislative bodies, legislative, judicial and prosecution bodies at any level, local government units at any level, state authorities and public entities, created by the Constitution or by law” The law applies to the legislature and any authority or public entity created by the Constitution or by law
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES Article2.Paragraph1.ItemA: ”Public authority: is any administrative body provided for in the current legislation on administrative procedures, legislative bodies, legislative, judicial and prosecution bodies at any level, local government units at any level, state authorities and public entities, created by the Constitution or by law” The law applies to the judicial branch and any authority or public entity created by the Constitution or by law
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES Article2.Paragraph1.ItemB” Public authorities […] are commercial companies where: i) the state owns most of the shares”.
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES Article2.Paragraph1.ItemA: ”Public authority: is any administrative body provided for in the current legislation on administrative procedures, legislative bodies, legislative, judicial and prosecution bodies at any level, local government units at any level, state authorities and public entities, created by the Constitution or by law” The law covers all authority or public entity created by the Constitution or by law
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 Partially Article2.Paragraph1.ItemB and C “Public authorities […] are commercial companies where: […] ii) public functions are discharged, under the provisions of letter “c” of this point; c) any natural or legal person, who is given by law, bylaw or any other form provided for by the legislation in force the right in discharge of public functions.” The law cover commercial entities performing a public function but does not state private bodies that receive significant public funding

Requesting Procedures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES Article 1 Paragraph 1: \"Any person enjoys the right to access public information, not being subject to explain the motives\".
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 YES Article 11 Paragraph 4: \"The information request should contain: (a) full name of the applicant; (b) postal or electronic adress where the information is requested to be send; (c) description of the information required; (d) format in which the information is preferred; (e) any information that the applicant considers that might help indentify the information required. Postal address must be provided by the requester only if s/he wants the information requested to be send. If not, the request can be submited and answered via e-mail.
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES Article 11 Paragraph 4: \"The information request should contain: (a) full name of the applicant; (b) postal or electronic adress where the information is requested to be send; (c) description of the information required; (d) format in which the information is preferred; (e) any information that the applicant considers that might help indentify the information required. The requirements for making requests are basic and there is no need to use an official form.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES Article 12 Paragraph 1: \"When the public authority, who has received the information request, is unclear about the content and the nature of the request, it contacts the applicant immediately, but no later than 48 hours from the date of the received request, to ask for necessary explanations. In all cases, the public authority shall assist the applicant in clarifying the request\". If the public authority is unclear about the content of the request shall contact in less than 48 the applicant. Furthermore, in all cases, the public authority shall assist the applicant in clarifying the request.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 NO The Law does not mention that public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 Partially Article 11 Paragrapgh 2: \"In every case, the information request is recorded and assigned a serial number. The serial number, along withe the contact details of the Right to Information Coordinator are given to the applicant who sent the information request. The Law does not make any reference to the timeframe in which requesters shall be provided with a receipt or acknowledgement
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES Article 12 Paragrapgh 2: \"If after reviewing the request, the public authority finds that the it does not have the requested information, it send the request, no later than 10 consecutive days from the date of receiving the request, to the competent authority, and informs the applicant. The sole reason for justifying the forwarding of the request to another authority is the lack of request information\". Article 12 Paragrapgh 3: \"The public authority, to whom the information request was addressed to, notifies the applicant that his request is forwarded to another authority, and informs him of the contacts of the authority where the request is sent to\". The Law includes includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES Article 14 Paragrapgh 2: \"Requests related to written documents, are handled by making available to the applicant: (a) a full copy, in the same format as the one used by the public authority, except in special cases; (b) a full copy of the information via email, when the information exists in such a form or can be converted\" Article 11 paragraph 4: \"The application for information shall contain:ç) format that the information is preferred to be obtained\"
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES Article 15 Paragraph 1: \"The public authority handles the information request by giving the required information as soon as possible, but no later than 10 working days from the day of submission, unless otherwise provided for by the particular Law\". The Law establishes that public officials are required to handle the information requested as soon as possible (no later than 10 working days from the day of submission).
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES Article 15 Paragraph 2: \"when the public authority receives the information request and forwards it to another authority, it replies no later than 15 working days from the request having being received by the first authority\". The Law includes clear timelines for responding to requests, including cases were the public authority forward the request to another authority.
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 YES Article 15 Paragraph 3: \"Deadlines specified in points 1 and 2 of this Article, may be extended by no more than 5 working days for one of the following reasons: (a) the need to look for and consider numerous voluminous documents; (b) the need to expand the search in offices and facilities that are physically separated from the headquarters of the authority; (c) the need to consult with other public authorities before making a decision whether or no to meet the request. The decision to extnd the deadline shall be immediately notified to the applicant\". The Law is clear about the extension of the timelines and indicates the three reasons which may lead to such extension.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 13 Paragraph 1: \"Public administration services are free of charge. Disclosure of information can be made against a fee, previously arrived at and made public by the public authority on its website and in premises where members of the public are received. The fee is the cost for the reproduction of the information request and, where appropriate, the cost of delivery. Information requested electronically is free of charge.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 Partially Article 13 Paragraph 2: \"The cost of reproduction can not be higher than the actual cost of the material on the information reproduced. The cost of delivery can not be higher than the average cost of the same service in the market\". Article 13 Paragraph 3: \"The Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data shall, periodically and in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, consider the charges made public by the public sector bodies and, as appropriate, order their change\". The Law limits fees to cost of reproduction and to cost of delivery and establish the need to issue instructions to determine the number of pages which will be provided free of charge. In practice, the Information Commissioner has issued an instruction that urges public authorities to provide the first 10 pages for free.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 YES Article13:“4. Citizens appropriately registered with the social assistance schemes and persons eligible under the Law No. 10039 of 22.12.2008 “On Legal Aid”, as amended, receive the information free of charge up to a certain number of pages for each request or to the equivalent value when the information is given in a different format.5. The Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance by way of a joint decision, determine the number of pages, for which information is obtained free of charge, according to point 4 of this Article, along withall exemptions from payment.” Article10.Paragraph2: :The Right to Information Coordinator has the following powers: […] (f) verifies instances when information is given free of charge to the citizens, as provided for in point 5, Article 13 of this Law”Article18.Paragraph2: “The actions and inactions, in accordance with this Law to the extend they do not constitute a criminal offence, are considered administrative offenses and are fined as follows: […] (l) failure to meet the requirements of point 4, Article 13 of this Law, to provide free of charge information is punishable by 50 000 to 100 000 ALL” The Law provides clear procedures for fee waivers for for impecunious requesters, as well as administrative actions against the failure to apply these waivers.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES The Law does not set any limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies.


Exceptions

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 YES Article 17 Paragraph5: The right to information is not automatically refused when the information sought is found in documents classified as “state secret”. In this case, the public authority, receiving the information request, starts immediately the classification review procedure at the public authority who ordered the classification, according to the Law No. 8457 of 11.02.1999, \"On the classified information as “state secret””, as amended. The public authority shall immediately notify the applicant on starting the classification review procedure under the Law and decides whether to extend the deadline for providing information within 30 working days. In any case, the decision to handle or not the information request is taken and reasoned based on the criteria of this Article
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 YES Article 17 Paragraph1: The right to information may be restricted if it is necessary, proportionate and if its disclosure may harm the following interests: (a) the right to a private life; (b) trade secret; (c) copyright; (d) patents Restricting the right to information, due to interests stipulated in letters \"a\", \"b\", \"c\" and \"d\" of this paragraph, shall not apply when the holder of such rights has given the consent for disclosing the relevant information or when at the time of disclosure of information he/she is considered a public authority under the provisions of this law. Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, the information requested is not rejected if there is a higher public interest for granting it. Paragraph2: The right to information may be restricted, if giving the information causes a clear and serious harm to the following interests: (a) national security, as defined by the legislation for classified information; (b) prevention, investigation and prosecution of offences; (c) conduct of an administrative investigation within a disciplinary proceeding; (d) conduct of inspection and auditing procedures of public authorities; (e) formulation of state monetary and fiscal policies; (f) equality of parties in court proceedings and the conduct of litigation; (g) preliminary consultations and discussions within or between public authorities on public policy development; (h) progres of international or intergovernmental relations.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 YES Article 17 Paragraph 2: The right to information may be restricted, if giving the information causes a clear and serious harm to the following interests: (a) national security, as defined by the legislation for classified information; (b) prevention, investigation and prosecution of offences; (c) conduct of an administrative investigation within a disciplinary proceeding; (d) conduct of inspection and auditing procedures of public authorities; (e) formulation of state monetary and fiscal policies; (f) equality of parties in court proceedings and the conduct of litigation; (g) preliminary consultations and discussions within or between public authorities on public policy development; (h) progres of international or intergovernmental relations. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1 of point 2 of this Article, the information requested is not rejected if there is a higher public interest to grant it. Restrictions on the right to information, due to the interests foreseen in point 2, letter \"c\" and \"d\" of this Article, shall not apply when the administrative investigation, in the context of a disciplinary proceeding, and audit inspection procedures of the public authority have been completed. Restriction on the right to information, due to the interests foreseen in point 2, letter “e” and “f” of this Article, shall not apply where the relevant data are facts, analyses of facts, technical data or statistics. Restriction on the right to information, due to the interests foreseen in point 2, letter “g” of this Article, shall not apply once the policies are published
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES Article 17 Paragraph 1: The right to information may be restricted if it is necessary, proportionate and if its disclosure may harm the following interests: (a) the right to a private life; (b) trade secret; (c) copyright; (d) patents; Restricting the right to information, due to interests stipulated in letters \"a\", \"b\", \"c\" and \"d\" of this paragraph, shall not apply when the holder of such rights has given the consent for disclosing the relevant information or when at the time of disclosure of information he/she is considered a public authority under the provisions of this law. Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, the information requested is not rejected if there is a higher public interest for granting it.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 Partially Article 17 Paragraph 2: ë) Restrictions on the right to information, due to the interests foreseen in point 2, letter \"c\" and \"d\" of this Article, shall not apply when the administrative investigation, in the context of a disciplinary proceeding, and audit inspection procedures of the public authority have been completed. Restriction on the right to information, due to the interests foreseen in point 2, letter “e” and “f” of this Article, shall not apply where the relevant data are facts, analyses of facts, technical data or statistics. Restriction on the right to information, due to the interests foreseen in point 2, letter “g” of this Article, shall not apply once the policies are published
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO The Law does not establish any clear procedure regarding third party consultations.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES Article 17 Paragraph 6: If the restriction affects only part of the information request, the rest of the information is not refused to the applicant. The public authority clearly indicates the relevant parts of the rejected document, and based on which point of this Article is making this rejections.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 YES Article 14 Paragraph 4: \"In every case, the refusal decision of the given form requested is given in writing along with thereasoning about it\". Code of Administrative Procedures (Law 44/2015), Article 7.2:“In cases in which access to the information requested [pursuant to the right to information legislation] is denied, the public authority shall adopt a reasoned decision in writing, which shall also include instructions on the exercise of the right of appeal and shall be immediately notified to the parties.”


Appeals

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 Partially Article 15 Administrative Appeal \"Every person has the right to appeal, through administrative, if it determines that rights have been violated under this law. Administrative appeal procedures regulated by law nr.8475, dated 12.5.1999 \"Code of Administrative Procedure of the Republic of Albania\". The law does not endorse the mechanism of internal appeals but an internal appeal is possible under general administrative law/procedure
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES Article24.Paragraph1: \"Every person, when it considers that his rights under this Law have been violated, has the right to appeal administratively to the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data in accordance with this Law and the Code of Administrative Procedure.\"
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES Law on Protection of Personal Data: Article33: \"The Commissioner shall be elected by the Assembly upon a proposal of the Council of Ministers for a 5 year term eligible for re-election\" Article36.Paragraph 1 and 2: \"1. The mandate of the Commissioner shall have an early termination when: a) he is given a final court decision for committing a criminal offence; b) he is absent from duty without justification for more than one month; c) he resigns; ç) a final court decision declares his ineffectiveness. 2. The Commissioner may be discharged by the Assembly when: a) he fails to act in compliance with the provisions arising from this law or other legal acts; b) he engages in activities that generate a conflict of interests; c) cases of incompatibility with the function are identified\" Article34:\"The function of the Commissioner shall be incompatible with every other state function, affiliation in political parties and partaking in their activities, with every other profitable activity, save teaching.\" 1-The apponting procedures of the commissioner is prescribed in Law No. 9887 dated 10.03.2008 As amended by the Law No. 48/2012, date 26.04.2012 On protection of personal data 2- The commisioner is elected by a multi-party bodie 3- The law indicates the term of office for the commissioner 3- The law gives clear and detailed measures for dissmisal
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 YES Law on Protection of Personal Data: Article29. Paragraph1:\"The Commissioner for the Protection of Personal Data is the independent authority in charge of supervising and monitoring the protection of personal data by respecting and guaranteeing the fundamental human rights and freedoms in compliance with the law.\" Article31. Paragraph3 :\"The Commissioner shall submit an annual report to the Assembly and reports in front of the Assembly when asked to do so. In addition he may ask to the Assembly to be heard for issues that he deems to be important.\" Article38:\"The Commissioner has his own independent budget which is funded by the state budget and donators not represent any conflict of interest. Administration of such donations is made according to the agreement with the donators and the Albanian legislation in force.\" Law on The Right to Information: Article20: \"1. The Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data reports to the Parliament or Parliamentary Committees at least once a year or whenever required by them. He may also ask the Parliament to be heard on issues he considers important. The reporting shall contain data and explanations for implementing the right to information in the Republic of Albania, as well as transparency programs. 2. Notification on specific issues is not allows, with the exception of the issues required by decision of the Parliament\"
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 YES Law on Protection of Personal Data: Article34: \"The function of the Commissioner shall be incompatible with every other state function, affiliation in political parties and partaking in their activities, with every other profitable activity, save teaching.\" Article35: \"Every Albanian citizen may be elected for the position of Commissioner if he/she meets the following criteria: a) University degree in law; b) breadth of knowledge and extinguished activities in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms; c) outstanding professional skills and a clean ethic and moral profile; ç) not less than 10 years of work experience as a lawyer\"
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES Article 31/1 of Data Protection Act. Powers in the field of protection of the right to information :\"c. assuming the necessary administrative enquiry in the course of exercising his powers;ç. being informed and having access to the information and documents subject to complaint in accordance with the law on the right to information or bearing a connection to the case under consideration, including the information classified “state secret”. He shall, in these cases, be obliged to abide by the requirements for maintaining the “state secret”, under the effective legislation\". http://www.idp.al/images/english/legislation/law_120-2014.pdf
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES Article24. Paragraph5 :\" The Freedom of Informational and Protection of Personal Data Commissioner decides:[...] B) acceptance of the appeal and ordering the public authority to provided the required information,in full or in part; [...] D) the deadline within which the public authority must comply with the order Article18:\"Failure to implement the provisions of this Law entails administrative liability, as per the cases provided for in point 2 of this Article. 2. The actions and inactions, in accordance with this Law to the extend they do not constitute a criminal offence, are considered administrative offenses and are fined as follows: [...] (q) non-disclosure of official documents, contrary to the rules in force, with the intention to obstruct the right to information is punishable by 150 000 to 300 000 ALL.\" Article21. Paragraph3:\" \"For violations provided for in letters “p” and “q” of point 2, Article 18 of this Law, the Commissioner for Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data may propose disciplinary measures against the responsible persons.\" Article23. Paragraph1:\"1. The Decision of the Commissioner for Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data to fine is notified to the head of the public authority and the finance office.\"
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 Partially Article 24 paragraph b): \"The Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data Commissioner decides: acceptance of the appeal and ordering the public authority to provided the required information, in full or in part.\"
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Article25: \"The applicant or the public authority has the right to appeal the decision of the Commissioner to the competent administrative court.\"
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 YES Article13. Paragraph 1:\"Public administration services are free of charge. Disclosure of information can be made against a fee, previously arrived at and made public by the public authority on its website and in premises wheremembers of the public are received. The fee is the cost for the reproduction of the information request and, where appropriate, the cost of delivery. Information requested electronically is free of charge.\" Article24. Paragraph1:\"Every person, when it considers that his rights under this Law have been violated, has the right to appeal administratively to the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data in accordance with this Law and the Code of Administrative Procedure.\" The law regards the appeal to the Information Commissioner process as a free of charge administrative procedure, which does not require a special knowledge of the law.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 Partially Article24: \"1. Every person, when it considers that his rights under this Law have been violated, has the right to appeal administratively to the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data in accordance with this Law and the Code of Administrative Procedure. Article24. Paragraph2:\"The administrative appeal is made to the Commissioner for Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data within 30 days from the day when: (a) the applicant has received the notice for the refusal of the information; (b) the deadline for giving the information foreseen in this Law has passed\" In principle, this includes violations of all substantive and procedural components of RTI, incl. related to the form of disclosure, failure to comply with deadlines etc. In practice, the appeals are not limited to denial of access. E.g. the Commissioner has entertained complaints for failure to comply with proactive disclosure obligations under Art. 7; for failure to provide correct information (e.g. that corresponds to the question answered); and for failure to respond within the statutory timelines.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES Article24: \"1. Every person, when it considers that his rights under this Law have been violated, has the right to appeal administratively to the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data in accordance with this Law and the Code of Administrative Procedure. 2. The administrative appeal is made to the Commissioner for Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data within 30 days from the day when: (a) the applicant has received the notice for the refusal of the information; (b) the deadline for giving the information foreseen in this Law has passed 3. Upon receiving the complaint, the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data forwards it to the office dealing with the right to information, which verifies the facts and the legal basis of the complaint. For this purpose, he may ask the complainant and the public authority, against whom the complaint is made, to present written submissions, and be informed by any other person and source. When it deems it necessary, the Commissioner holds a public hearing with the participation of the parties. 4. The Freedom of Information and Personal Data Protection Commissioner takes a decision on the appeal within 15 working days from the date when the appeal is filed.\"
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 NO Article24. Paragraph3: \"Upon receiving the complaint, the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data forwards it to the office dealing with the right to information, which verifies the facts and the legal basis of the complaint. For this purpose, he may ask the complainant and the public authority, against whom the complaint is made, to present written submissions, and be informed by any other person and source. When it deems it necessary, the Commissioner holds a public hearing with the participation of the parties\" The law treats the complainant and the public authority, against whom the complaint is made, on equal basis
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 NO The law does not provide the commissioner with the power to imposing partial nor fully structural reforms


Sanctions & Proteccions

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES Article 18 Paragraph 2: \"The actions and inactions, in accordance with this Law to the extend they do not constitute a criminal offence, are considered administrative offenses and are fined as follows: (p) damage or destruction of official documents, in order to avoid the right to the freedom of information, is punishable by 150 000 to 300.000 ALL; (q) non-disclosure of official documents, contrary to the rules in force, with the intention to obstruct the right to information is punishable by 150 000 to 300 000 ALL\".
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 Partially Article 18 Paragraph 2: \"(q) non-disclosure of official documents, contrary to the rules in force, with the intention to obstruct the right to information is punishable by 150 000 to 300 000 ALL\".
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 YES Art. 44 of the Civil Servants Law: “Civil servants have a duty to perform their functions in the civil service with transparency and to provide access to the general public and the parties to any necessary information, with the exception of information classified as a state secret pursuant to the law.”
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 Partially Law 60/2016 on protection of “corruption whistleblowers.” Official Journal 115-2016, pp. 8218 et seq: http://www.qbz.gov.al/botime/fletore_zyrtare/2016/PDF-2016/115-2016.pd Under this law, whistleblowers enjoy protections for good faith disclosures to the head of the relevant agency or the independent institution designated by law for this purpose (the inspectorate that monitors the assets declarations of officials). However, the statutory protections no longer apply from the moment thewhistleblower chooses to go public (Art. 8)


Promotional measures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 10 Paragraph 1: To implement this Law, in order to coordinate the work for guaranteeing the right to information, the public authority shall appoint one of the officials as the Right to Information Coordinator.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 31/1 of DPA: dh) encouraging the principle of transparency in the activity of the public authorities, specifically by way of awareness and informing on issues pertaining to the right of information; e) monitoring the implementation of the law on the right to information; ë) conducting surveys with regard to various issues pertaining to the right to information; f) making recommendations for the public sector bodies, connected to the concept and implementation of institutional programs of transparency; g) upon being required by the court adjudicating the case, submitting an opinion in writing on any type of issue connected to the right to information.”
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 31/1 of DPA: dh) encouraging the principle of transparency in the activity of the public authorities, specifically by way of awareness and informing on issues pertaining to the right of information; e) monitoring the implementation of the law on the right to information; ë) conducting surveys with regard to various issues pertaining to the right to information; f) making recommendations for the public sector bodies, connected to the concept and implementation of institutional programs of transparency; g) upon being required by the court adjudicating the case, submitting an opinion in writing on any type of issue connected to the right to information.”
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Regulation of the Archive Service “Technical, Professional and Methodological Norms of the Archive Service of the Republic of Albania” (Albanian) http://www.albarchive.gov.al/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/NORMA_TEKNIKO-PROFESIONALE1.pdf
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Only a register f the requests is established .Article 8 Paragraph 1: The public authority creates, maintains and makes public a special register, showing all the requests for information and the information contained in the responses. The register is updated every 3 months and is published on the public authority’s website, as well as in the reception facilities of the public authority\'s offices. The identity of the information seekers is not shown in the register.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned in the Law. As of Jan. 2016, an RTI course has been added to the standard curriculum of the Albanian School for Public Administration that is mandatory for all civil servants
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 20 Paragraph 1: The Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data reports to the Parliament or Parliamentary Committees at least once a year or whenever required by them. He may also ask the Parliament to be heard on issues he considers important. The reporting shall contain data and explanations for implementing the right to information in the Republic of Albania, as well as transparency programs.