Country

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

Name of law : Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the right to Obtain Information
First adopted : 2005

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 5
Scope 30 28
Requesting procedures 30 24
Exceptions 30 24
Appeals 30 19
Sanctions 8 3
Promotional measures 16 12
TOTAL 150 115

Right of Access

Indicator

Description

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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 Article 1 interprets Article 50 of the Constitution as providing this right: "The purpose of the present Law is to establish the legal framework for ensuring free, unrestricted and equal information access as prescribed by Article 50 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic based on open society and democratic law-governed state principles, as well as to create conditions for control by citizens on the exercising of public duties." Article 39 of the Constitution, "II. Everyone has the right to gain information about true ecological situation and to get compensation for damage done to his/her health and property because of violation of ecological requirements." ; Article 50 of the Constitution: Freedom of information "I. Everyone is free to look for, acquire, transfer, prepare and distribute information. II. Freedom of mass media is guaranteed. State censorship in mass media, including press is prohibited." ; Article 57 of the Constitution Right to appeal "I. Citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic have the right to appeal personally and also to submit individual and collective written applications to state bodies. Each application should be responded to in an established order and term." Link to the Constitution (English version): http://en.president.az/azerbaijan/constitution/
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, Section 2. Freedom of Access to Information. "2.2. Any person is entitled to apply directly or via his (her) representative to the information owner and to choose the type and form for obtaining the information." /Article 3, Section 1.Definitions. "3.0.1. information – any facts, opinions, knowledge, news or other sort of information produced or acquired as a result of any activities, irrespective of the date of producing, presentation form and classification;" No specific mention about the word "All" but can be inferred by the reading of these articles that all the information held by public bodies is included under the scope.
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 Partially Article 6."Basic principles of information access are as follows: 6.0.1. free, unrestricted and equal settlement of any information request; 6.0.2. eligibility of the information access; 6.0.3. obligation of state authorities and municipalities to disclose the information; 6.0.4. maximal transparency of information; 6.0.5. execution of any information request as soon as practicable and under the most appropriate method; 6.0.6. personal, public and state security during provision with information; 6.0.7. state protection of the right of information access, including judicially; 6.0.8. free-of-charge information access, except as otherwise provided by the present Law; 6.0.9. responsibility of the information owners for violating the right of information access; 6.0.10. not exceeding any limitation on information access over the grounds causing such limitations; 6.0.11. non-forcing officials to disclose the information on offences that generate the public interest."




Scope

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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 Article 2, Section 2. " 2.2. Any person is entitled to apply directly or via his (her) representative to the information owner and to choose the type and form for obtaining the information." /Article 3, Section 7. "3.0.7. information requester (hereinafter referred to as ‘the requester’) – legal entity or individual applying in writing or verbally to acquire the information;"
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 Article 3, Section 1 and 3. "3.0.1. information – any facts, opinions, knowledge, news or other sort of information produced or acquired as a result of any activities, irrespective of the date of producing, presentation form and classification;" ,"3.0.3. public information - any facts, opinions, knowledge produced or acquired during performance of duties provided by legislation or other legal acts;" Article 7.Documented Information (Document) "7.1. Any identifiable information with any attributes recorded on tangible data medium in the form of text, voice or picture; irrespective of its source, place of storage, official status, type of ownership and whether or not it has been produced by the entity which it belongs to, is considered a documented information (hereinafter ‘the document’). 7.2. Information owner owns the document if: 7.2.1. the document available at the information owner does not belong to another information owner; 7.2.2. the document available at another information owner belongs to the information owner." Article 37, Section 1, Subsection 25. "internal documents not registered with the Register – greeting correspondences, guarantees, memos, programs of public events, various statistic statements." Article 3 seems to cover all type of information. Article 7 covers all material information "recorded on tangible data medium... irrespective of its source, place of storage, official status, type of ownership and whether or not it has been produced by the entity which it belongs to".
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 Article 3, Section 1 and 3. "3.0.1. information – any facts, opinions, knowledge, news or other sort of information produced or acquired as a result of any activities, irrespective of the date of producing, presentation form and classification;" ,"3.0.3. public information - any facts, opinions, knowledge produced or acquired during performance of duties provided by legislation or other legal acts;" Article 7.Documented Information (Document) "7.1. Any identifiable information with any attributes recorded on tangible data medium in the form of text, voice or picture; irrespective of its source, place of storage, official status, type of ownership and whether or not it has been produced by the entity which it belongs to, is considered a documented information (hereinafter ‘the document’). 7.2. Information owner owns the document if: 7.2.1. the document available at the information owner does not belong to another information owner; 7.2.2. the document available at another information owner belongs to the information owner." Article 16. "Methods of Implementing of the Request for Information 16.1. Information owner executes a request under the following methods: 16.1.1. recording on electronic information careers or sending to the e-mail address shown in the request; 16.1.2. presenting a copy of the document or extract from the document directly to the requestor or sending to his mail address; 16.1.3. by fax; 16.1.4. verbally; 16.1.5. permitting the access to places designated for familiarization with the information; 16.1.6. other methods taking into account the type of the information career. 16.2. Requests for information shall be implemented verbally only in below cases: 16.2.1. in case of direct appeal to officials; 16.2.2. when the details of the request for information are questioned; 16.2.3. when learning if the information owner possesses the information required to the requestor. 16.3. When the copying of the document may cause a damage to the original, the information owner should provide a requestor with conditions for: 16.3.1. familiarization by himself with the manuscripts or printed materials; 16.3.2. listening audio materials, reviewing audiovisual materials and making records. 16.4. The official, replying to a request in a verbal form, is not required to read a document. 16.5. When the requested information is available in several languages, the document shall be presented in the language mentioned in the request as preferable."
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 Article 9. Information Owners "9.1. The below listed are considered the information owners: 9.1.1. state authorities and municipalities; 9.1.2. legal entities implementing the public functions, as well as private legal entities and individuals engaged in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on legal acts or contracts. 9.2. Information owner’s obligations, established by the present Law, pertain to legal entities and individuals defined in Article 9.1.2. hereof only in relation to the information produced or acquired as a result of public duties carried out, or services provided in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on the legal acts or contracts. 9.3. The below listed are considered equal to the information owners: 9.3.1. legal entities holding the dominant position, as well as holding a special or exclusive right at the products market, or being a natural monopoly – in relation to the information associated with the terms of offers and prices of goods as well as the services and changes in such terms and prices; 9.3.2. fully or partially state-owned or subordinated non-commercial organizations, offbudget funds, as well as the trade associations where the state is a member or a participant – in relation to the information associated with the use of the State Budget funds or properties contributed to them." Article 3, Section 5. "information owner – state authorities, municipalities, legal entities irrespective of the ownership type, and individuals as determined by Article 9 hereof to guarantee the right of information access;". All the bodies seems to be included under the scope of the act. It seems that access to Archives is limited according to Article 4.2.2. The present Law does not apply to: "4.2.2. the provision of the working access to archived documents in accordance with the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic ‘On National Archive Fund’;".
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 Article 9. Information Owners "9.1. The below listed are considered the information owners: 9.1.1. state authorities and municipalities; 9.1.2. legal entities implementing the public functions, as well as private legal entities and individuals engaged in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on legal acts or contracts. 9.2. Information owner’s obligations, established by the present Law, pertain to legal entities and individuals defined in Article 9.1.2. hereof only in relation to the information produced or acquired as a result of public duties carried out, or services provided in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on the legal acts or contracts. 9.3. The below listed are considered equal to the information owners: 9.3.1. legal entities holding the dominant position, as well as holding a special or exclusive right at the products market, or being a natural monopoly – in relation to the information associated with the terms of offers and prices of goods as well as the services and changes in such terms and prices; 9.3.2. fully or partially state-owned or subordinated non-commercial organizations, offbudget funds, as well as the trade associations where the state is a member or a participant – in relation to the information associated with the use of the State Budget funds or properties contributed to them." Article 3, Section 5. "information owner – state authorities, municipalities, legal entities irrespective of the ownership type, and individuals as determined by Article 9 hereof to guarantee the right of information access;".
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 Article 9. Information Owners "9.1. The below listed are considered the information owners: 9.1.1. state authorities and municipalities; 9.1.2. legal entities implementing the public functions, as well as private legal entities and individuals engaged in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on legal acts or contracts. 9.2. Information owner’s obligations, established by the present Law, pertain to legal entities and individuals defined in Article 9.1.2. hereof only in relation to the information produced or acquired as a result of public duties carried out, or services provided in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on the legal acts or contracts. 9.3. The below listed are considered equal to the information owners: 9.3.1. legal entities holding the dominant position, as well as holding a special or exclusive right at the products market, or being a natural monopoly – in relation to the information associated with the terms of offers and prices of goods as well as the services and changes in such terms and prices; 9.3.2. fully or partially state-owned or subordinated non-commercial organizations, offbudget funds, as well as the trade associations where the state is a member or a participant – in relation to the information associated with the use of the State Budget funds or properties contributed to them." Article 3, Section 5. "information owner – state authorities, municipalities, legal entities irrespective of the ownership type, and individuals as determined by Article 9 hereof to guarantee the right of information access;".
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 Article 9. Information Owners "9.1. The below listed are considered the information owners: 9.1.1. state authorities and municipalities; 9.1.2. legal entities implementing the public functions, as well as private legal entities and individuals engaged in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on legal acts or contracts. 9.2. Information owner’s obligations, established by the present Law, pertain to legal entities and individuals defined in Article 9.1.2. hereof only in relation to the information produced or acquired as a result of public duties carried out, or services provided in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on the legal acts or contracts. 9.3. The below listed are considered equal to the information owners: 9.3.1. legal entities holding the dominant position, as well as holding a special or exclusive right at the products market, or being a natural monopoly – in relation to the information associated with the terms of offers and prices of goods as well as the services and changes in such terms and prices; 9.3.2. fully or partially state-owned or subordinated non-commercial organizations, offbudget funds, as well as the trade associations where the state is a member or a participant – in relation to the information associated with the use of the State Budget funds or properties contributed to them." Article 3, Section 5. "information owner – state authorities, municipalities, legal entities irrespective of the ownership type, and individuals as determined by Article 9 hereof to guarantee the right of information access;". Fully or partially state-owned entreprises are included.
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 Article 9. Information Owners "9.1. The below listed are considered the information owners: 9.1.1. state authorities and municipalities; 9.1.2. legal entities implementing the public functions, as well as private legal entities and individuals engaged in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on legal acts or contracts. 9.2. Information owner’s obligations, established by the present Law, pertain to legal entities and individuals defined in Article 9.1.2. hereof only in relation to the information produced or acquired as a result of public duties carried out, or services provided in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on the legal acts or contracts. 9.3. The below listed are considered equal to the information owners: 9.3.1. legal entities holding the dominant position, as well as holding a special or exclusive right at the products market, or being a natural monopoly – in relation to the information associated with the terms of offers and prices of goods as well as the services and changes in such terms and prices; 9.3.2. fully or partially state-owned or subordinated non-commercial organizations, offbudget funds, as well as the trade associations where the state is a member or a participant – in relation to the information associated with the use of the State Budget funds or properties contributed to them." Article 3, Section 5. "information owner – state authorities, municipalities, legal entities irrespective of the ownership type, and individuals as determined by Article 9 hereof to guarantee the right of information access;".
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 YES Article 9, Section 1. "9.1. The below listed are considered the information owners: 9.1.1. state authorities and municipalities; 9.1.2. legal entities implementing the public functions, as well as private legal entities and individuals engaged in the spheres of education, healthcare, cultural and social sphere based on legal acts or contracts." No clear mention about Private bodies that receive public funding.

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 Partially Article 15, Section 5. "15.5. Except for cases delineated in Articles 15.3, 21.2.1, 22.4 and 24.3 hereof, a requestor is not required to ground the need to obtain the information." There are no reasons, except for some cases.
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 15, Section 1. "A written request for information should contain: 15.1.1. name and family name of the requestor; 15.1.2. when the request is submitted by a legal entity – the name of the legal entity as well; 15.1.3. contact details on the requestor to enable the information owner to execute the request (mail or e-mail address, telephone of fax numbers); 15.1.4. content of the requested information, or type or name of the document, document details known to the requestor; 15.1.5. presentation form of the information." Only details needed to deliver the information are asked.
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 13. Methods of Submission of Information Request "13.1. A requestor submits a request for information by the following ways: 13.1.1. verbally by applying to the information owner’s official directly or by phone; 13.1.2. to deliver the information to the information requester personally or in a written form by sending it by post, fax, or e-mail." Article 15, Section 1. "A written request for information should contain: 15.1.1. name and family name of the requestor; 15.1.2. when the request is submitted by a legal entity – the name of the legal entity as well; 15.1.3. contact details on the requestor to enable the information owner to execute the request (mail or e-mail address, telephone of fax numbers); 15.1.4. content of the requested information, or type or name of the document, document details known to the requestor; 15.1.5. presentation form of the information." The requestor should describe what information is requested (the content) or the type or name of the document, document details known to the requestor in order to identify the document and give the information.
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 10, Section 4, Subsection 5 and 8. 10.4. Information owner: "10.4.5. assists a requestor;", "10.4.8. avoids to furnish incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate information, checks accuracy and reliability of information in case of any doubts." Article 17. Information Owner’s Obligation to Assist a Requestor. "17.1. Information Owner should communicate to a requestor the terms, policies and methods of the information access in understandable form. 17.2. When the information owner does not possess the requested information, he should assist a requestor to find a probable location of such information. 17.3. When the request does not specify explicitly the required information or the presentation form of this information, the official should communicate with the requestor to define the matter. 17.4. Verbal requests of persons who are not able to apply with written requests due to illiteracy or physical disability shall be prepared by the information owner’s officials in written form with indication of their names, family names, positions and then registered with indication of the date."
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 YES Article 10, Section 4, Subsection 5 and 8. 10.4. Information owner: "10.4.5. assists a requestor;", "10.4.8. avoids to furnish incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate information, checks accuracy and reliability of information in case of any doubts." Article 17, Section 4.Information Owner’s Obligation to Assist a Requestor. "17.4. Verbal requests of persons who are not able to apply with written requests due to illiteracy or physical disability shall be prepared by the information owner’s officials in written form with indication of their names, family names, positions and then registered with indication of the date."
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 22, Section 4. "22.4. When the official confirmation of the presented information is required to exercise the requestor’s rights and freedoms or fulfill his duties, the information owner should present this information, including the disclosed information, together with the official confirmation." Only when is required to exercise the requestor’s rights, the official in charge should give the requester the "official confirmation" (it is a sort of receipt).
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 17, Section 2 "17.2. When the information owner does not possess the requested information, he should assist a requestor to find a probable location of such information." /Article 19, Section 1, Subsection 3 "19.1. The request is carefully examined by the information owner’s official. With this purpose:<...> 19.1.3. where to direct the information when the required information is not available with the information resources;" /Article 20, Section 1, Subsection 3 "20.1. Information owner’s official takes one of the below decisions, depending on the examination results:20.1.3. directs the request to the respective information owner." /Article 23, Section 1. "23.1. When the information owner lacks the required information, he should determine the respective information owner and forward the request to him without delay, i.e. within 5 working days with notifying the requestor accordingly."
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 10, Section 4, Subsection 1. "10.4. Information owner: 10.4.1. answers the request for information as soon as practicable and in the manner most applicable for the requestor;".
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES Article 6, Section 5 "6.0.5. execution of any information request as soon as practicable and under the most appropriate method;", /Article 10, Section 4, Subsection 1. "10.4. Information owner: 10.4.1. answers the request for information as soon as practicable and in the manner most applicable for the requester;", /Article 24, Section 1. "24.1. Request for information is executed as soon as practicable, but not later than in 7 working days." There are mentions in various articles.
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 24, Section 1. "24.1. Request for information is executed as soon as practicable, but not later than in 7 working days." The request for information must be responded not later than in 7 working days.
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 25, Section 1. "25.1. If the information owner receives overmuch requests and therefore needs the additional time for preparation of the information, or if there is a need to define the essence of the request or to investigate a lot of documents to clear up the information, the information owner may extend the execution term provided by the present Law for additional 7 working days."
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 1.Subject of the Law "The purpose of the present Law is to establish the legal framework for ensuring free, unrestricted and equal information access as prescribed by Article 50 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic based on open society and democratic law-governed state principles, as well as to create conditions for control by citizens on the exercising of public duties." Article 2, Section 1. "2.1. Access to information in the Azerbaijan Republic is free." /Article 6, Section 8. "6.0.8. free-of-charge information access, except as otherwise provided by the present Law;" /Article 26, Section 1 and 2. "26.1. The information access is free of charge if the requestor has been familiarized with the information, rewrote it by hand or copied it by using own technical means, or in other cases without providing him with a technical support. 26.2. Access to public information is not chargeable." The access to the information will be free of charge if the requestor has been familiarized with the information, rewrote it by hand or copied it by using own technical means, or in other cases without providing him with a technical support. Access to public information is not chargeable.
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 14, Section 3. "14.3. In cases provided by Article 14.2.1. hereof, the information is presented free of charge, on the chargeable basis or with discounts." /Article 26. Charge for the Information Access 26.1. The information access is free of charge if the requestor has been familiarized with the information, rewrote it by hand or copied it by using own technical means, or in other cases without providing him with a technical support. 26.2. Access to public information is not chargeable.26.3. Information service may be chargeable, providing that the amount of charge does not exceed expenses incurred for preparation and presentation of the information. 26.4. The respective executive authority under agreement with the authorized agent on information matters establishes: 26.4.1. the list of chargeable information services; 26.4.2. the payment procedures for preparation and presentation of the information; 26.4.3. the cases requiring prepayment for presentation of the information; 26.4.4. the conditions for applicable payment discounts; 26.4.5. the terms and procedures for execution of the request for information on contractual basis except for cases as provided for by Article 14.4 hereof." The fees are not set centrally, but for the respective executive authority. The charge seems to be limited only to reproducing the document.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Article 26, Section 4, Subsection 4. "26.4. The respective executive authority under agreement with the authorized agent on information matters establishes: 26.4.4. the conditions for applicable payment discounts;". The impecunious requesters are not specifically mentioned. Spite of this, there is the requirement to stablish "the conditions for applicable payment discounts" for all the public bodies.
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 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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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 5, Section 2. "5.2. Other legal acts of the Azerbaijan Republic cannot provide for any regulations contradicting the requirements of the present Law." There is a contradiction in this point of the law. Article 4.2.1 establishes that "The present Law does not apply to the information constituting the state secret as set in the legislation", and then Article 5.2 establishes that "Other legal acts of the Azerbaijan Republic cannot provide for any regulations contradicting the requirements of the present Law". Need to be checked with local experts. The relationship between the Law on RTI and Law on State Secrets is unclear.
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 Partially Article 35./Article 38./Article 34.4. Exceptions that fall outside the list: Article 35.2.10: "when the disclosure deteriorate the lawful interests of the information owner, or the utilization of the information for official use is provided by agreement with private legal entities engaged in exercising public functions– information on technology solutions."; /Article 35.3. "Information owners may consider the following information as intended for official use in the grounded cases: 35.3.1. drafts of decrees, resolutions and orders of information owners provided by Article 9.1 hereof – until submission of decrees, resolutions and orders for approval; 35.3.2. acts and related documents on fulfillment of obligations provided by Articles 9.3.1 and 9.3.2 hereof by legal entities enlisted in Article 9.3. hereof – until approval and signing of these acts." The rest of exceptions are permissible.
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 39. Access to Information Intended for Official Use. "39.1. Information owner is to disclose the information on offences or accidents interesting for public before the absolute clarification of the respective result, to such extent as not to preclude from the investigation or clarification of the accident’s causes. 39.2. The decision on the extent of such information disclosure shall be taken by the official making the investigation or effecting the control or clarifying the accident’s causes. 39.3. If the information shown in Article 37 is a component of the information with limited access, only the portion of the information that is with unlimited access shall be disclosed. 39.4. State and municipal servants are entitled to work with documents intended for official use in connection with the fulfillment of their official duties. 39.5. Manager of the information owner may permit to outside parties to work with the information intended for official use, providing that such information does not deteriorate the interests of the state authorities and municipalities." A slight harm test applies to all exceptions, but subject to the discretion of the Manager of the information owner.
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 Partially Article 35, Section 4. "35.4. Information provided by Article 35.2 hereof may be intended for official use if the harm from disclosure of this information exceeds the public interest to it." The mandatory public interest override applies only to 10 out of 13 of all the exceptions listed.
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 YES Article 40, Section 1. "40.1. Limitation of access to information intended for official use shall be removed upon elimination of such limitation’s cause, but within a period not exceeding 5 years." Limitations must be removed after the cause has ceased to exist and in any case after a maximum of 5 years.
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 Not mentioned.
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 19, Section 1, Subsection 5. "19.1.5. options for the extraction of the information when the required information is open, but subject to limitations under law;", /Article 4, Section 1, Subsection 2. "4.1.2. limitations on public information access and procedures for disclosing and presenting those portion of such information that is not regulated by other laws;", /Article 22, Section 2. "22.2. When the required information is incorporated in the document with limited access, only the accessible part of the information may be presented." /Article 39, Section 3. "39.3. If the information shown in Article 37 is a component of the information with limited access, only the portion of the information that is with unlimited access shall be disclosed."
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 21, Section 3. "21.3. The response on the refusal to execute the request for information should be explicit and grounded with indication of applicable articles of the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic and the right of the requestor to appeal to a court."


Appeals

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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 NO Article 54. "Petition of the Authorized Agency on Information Matters for the Organization of Control on an Official Basis 54.1.If the information owner fails to perform the instructions of the authorized agency on information matters, the authorized agency on information matters files a petition to the information owner’s supreme body on the organization of control, or forwards collected documents to a court. 54.2.Within 15 days from the receipt of the petition, the supreme body effecting the official control is to review it and inform as appropriate the authorized agency on information matters." There is a procedure like this, but the appeal is sent by the Independent body after failing the official in charge in performing the instructions ordered by this body.
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 Article 49, Section 1. "49.1. A requestor is entitled to complain in connection with the refuse to execute or inappropriate execution of the request for information to a court or the authorized agency on information matters." Since the adoption of the FOI law in 2005, the Commissioner has not been appointed yet. In the absence of an Information Ombudsman, the only way to appeal against the refusal of an information request is through the court system.
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 Partially Article 43. Requirements to Authorized Agent on Information Matters. "43.1. The authorized agent on information matters (hereinafter ‘the authorized agent’) shall be elected by Milli Mejlis of the Azerbaijan Republic out of 3 nominees recommended by the respective executive authority. 43.2. Any citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic with higher education, experienced in the field of information and with extreme morality may be elected an authorized agent. 43.3. The following persons may not be elected an authorized agent: 43.3.1. persons holding rewarding occupation, except for scientific, pedagogical and creative activities, as well as persons bearing any obligation to a foreign state; 43.3.2. persons with imprisonment unsettled or non-recalled as provided by legislation; 43.3.3. persons proved by the court as being incapable or partly capable. 43.4. The authorized agent may not be involved in political activities, represent any political party or hold a managing position at any non-government organization. 43.5. Any authorized agent is to leave the position not complying with his status within 7 days after the election.43.6. Term of office of authorized agent is 5 years. 43.7. Authorized agent may not be elected at this position more than twice." Article 43 establishes the appointment procedure and the Authorized Agent on Information Matters is elected by the Parliament but there are no specific gurantees for security of tenure.
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 Article 44, Section 2. "44.2. Authorized agency institution is a legal person and financed from the State Budget."
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 Article 43, Section 2 and 4. "43.2. Any citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic with higher education, experienced in the field of information and with extreme morality may be elected an authorized agent." "43.4. The authorized agent may not be involved in political activities, represent any political party or hold a managing position at any non-government organization."
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 Partially Article 48 "Rights of the Authorized Agency on Information Matters 48.1.The authorized agency on information matters enjoys the following rights: 48.1.1. to request reports, clarifications and documents from information owner; 48.1.2. to get acquainted with documents considered by the information owner as intended for internal use; 48.1.3. to file the materials on administrative and legal delinquencies associated with violation of the present Law’s requirements to the supreme body of the information owner or court." No specific mention about the inspection powers.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES Articles 53 and 54. Article 53. "Fulfillment of Instructions of the Authorized Agency on Information Matters 53.1.Within 5 days of receipt of the instructions of the authorized agency on information matters the information owner should undertake measures to implement them and accordingly notify in writing the authorized agency on information matters; 53.2.The authorized agency on information matters discloses the information received from the information owner on its Internet Information Resource; 53.3.The information owner is entitled to apply to a court in connection with the instructions of the authorized agency on information matters;", Article 54. "Petition of the Authorized Agency on Information Matters for the Organization of Control on an Official Basis 54.1.If the information owner fails to perform the instructions of the authorized agency on information matters, the authorized agency on information matters files a petition to the information owner’s supreme body on the organization of control, or forwards collected documents to a court. 54.2.Within 15 days from the receipt of the petition, the supreme body effecting the official control is to review it and inform as appropriate the authorized agency on information matters." No specific mention, but can be inferred by reading these articles.
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 NO Article 52. "Instructions of the Authorized Agency on Information Matters 52.1.During the investigation on the basis of control, the authorized agency on information matters may accordingly instruct the information owner in the following cases: 52.1.1. illegal refuse to execute the request for information; 52.1.2. failure to execute the request for information within the terms provided by the present Law; 52.1.3. improper execution of the request for information; 52.1.4. non-disclosure or insufficient disclosure of the public information to be disclosed under the present Law; 52.1.5. failure to create or improper creation of the Internet Information Resource; 52.1.6. presentation of inaccurate, untrue and incomplete information and non-settlement of the requestor’s repeated appeal on this matter; 52.1.7. setting illegal information access limits; 52.1.8. disclosure of the information, access to which is limited under the present Law. 52.2.Instructions of the authorized agency on information matters should answer the cases provided by the present Law, do not go above the powers of the authorized agency, be grounded in accordance with the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic." The independent body may instruct about the non-disclosure or insufficient disclosure of the public information to be disclosed under the law, but it seems not to have the power of declassifying information.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Article 49, Section 1. "49.1. A requestor is entitled to complain in connection with the refuse to execute or inappropriate execution of the request for information to a court or the authorized agency on information matters." Requesters can appeal to the independent body or either to the court, without being mandatory to go first to the independent body.
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 NO No mention about the cost of the procedure, if it has a cost. No mention about the need of the lawyer.
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 Article 49, Section 1 / Article 52. "49.1. A requestor is entitled to complain in connection with the refuse to execute or inappropriate execution of the request for information to a court or the authorized agency on information matters." Article 52. "Instructions of the Authorized Agency on Information Matters 52.1.During the investigation on the basis of control, the authorized agency on information matters may accordingly instruct the information owner in the following cases: 52.1.1. illegal refuse to execute the request for information; 52.1.2. failure to execute the request for information within the terms provided by the present Law; 52.1.3. improper execution of the request for information; 52.1.4. non-disclosure or insufficient disclosure of the public information to be disclosed under the present Law; 52.1.5. failure to create or improper creation of the Internet Information Resource; 52.1.6. presentation of inaccurate, untrue and incomplete information and non-settlement of the requestor’s repeated appeal on this matter; 52.1.7. setting illegal information access limits; 52.1.8. disclosure of the information, access to which is limited under the present Law. 52.2.Instructions of the authorized agency on information matters should answer the cases provided by the present Law, do not go above the powers of the authorized agency, be grounded in accordance with the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic." No mention about the administrative silence .
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 Article 49, Section 2 / Article 50, Section 1. "49.2.The complaints filed to the authorized agency on information matters is to indicate: 49.2.1 name and family name of person filing a complaint; 49.2.2. mailing address or other contact details; 49.2.3. content of the information inquiry presented to the information owner; 49.2.4. detailed information on faults committed by the information owner on the request for information; requestor’s evidences on illegal actions of the information owner." "50.1.The authorized agency on information matters is to consider the complaint within 10 working days after the date of filing, examine the eligibility of activities of the information owner in this regard and provides response to the complainer."
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 No mention about this.
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 YES Articles 46, 47 and 48.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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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 Partially Article 6, Section 9. "6.0.9. responsibility of the information owners for violating the right of information access;". No specific mention about the sanctions to be imposed, but for responsibility for violating the right of access.
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 YES Article 181, paragraph 3 of the Code of Administrative Offences. The Code includes specific sanctions for violations of legislation on access to information. This article provides that officials should be fined for unjustly limiting the right to information or for providing false information, for refusing to provide access to information, for refusing to receive a written request for information, for violating the rules on record management, or for persecution for the dissemination of information about offences, which are a matter of public. Such violations are punishable with a fine. Either individuals or Juridical persons are subject to this fine.
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 NO Not mentioned.
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 NO Not protection for whistleblowers. The Criminal Code considers a criminal offence to disclose state secrets.


Promotional measures

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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, Section 2. / Article 11, Section 3. "10.2. For these purposes, the information owner appoints an official or establishes a department on information matters, provides information services." "11.3. If information owner fails to appoint an official or establish a department on information matters, then the person determined by the information owner for implementing of this function shall be responsible for the execution of the request for information."
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 NO No specific mention about this.
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 8, Section 3. "8.3. Information owner establishes and ensures the implementation of procedures for access by individuals to the private information on themselves and making adjustments, as necessary, in accordance with the requirements of the present Law."
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 Article 8, Section 1 and 2 / Article 11. "8.1. Regulations on storage, filing and protection of information are established by the respective executive authority; 8.2. Information owner is responsible for storage, filing and protection of the pertinent information in accordance with the policies as set in Article 8.1 hereof;", Article 11. "Responsibility for Organizing of Information Access 11.1. Manager of the information owner establishes internal execution procedures for organizing of information services. 11.2. Information owners specified by Article 9 of the present Law are responsible for the organizing of the information access as provided by the legislation. 11.3. If information owner fails to appoint an official or establish a department on information matters, then the person determined by the information owner for implementing of this function shall be responsible for the execution of the request for information. 11.4. The responsibility for information disclosure stipulated by this Law lays on the manager of the information owner, unless the other person is officially in charge for implementing this function." Public bodies are called to stablish regulations on storage, filing and protection of information.
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 YES Article 10, Section 4, Subsection 2 / Article 29. 10.4 "Information owner: 10.4.2. maintains the register of documents;". No specific mention about the publicity of the registers, but can be inferred by reading the articles.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
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 YES Article 10, Section 6 /Article 12. "10.6. Reports are presented to the authorized agent on information matters twice a year – on the first and seventh month of every current year. However, when the authorized agent so requests, the information owner must present additional reports." Article 12. "Register of Documents 12.1. Register of Documents (hereinafter ‘the Register’) is a publicly-accessible electronic database where all information received by the information owner, produced or acquired as a result of fulfillment of public duties is registered. 12.2. The respective executive authority establishes policies for creating, maintenance and periodic update of the Register. 12.3. The information owner is obliged to register the below documents in the Register within the period, stipulated by the present Article: 12.3.1. incoming, outgoing or internally produced documents – on the date of entry, dispatch or internal production; 12.3.2. legal acts – date of signing; 12.3.3. contracts – effective dates. 12.4. Accounting records, greeting correspondences, notifications, memos, guarantees, as well as programs of meetings, forums, conferences and other public events or the information on such events, various statistic statements are not recorded in the Register. 12.5. In addition to information listed in Article 15.1, the following details must be recorded in the Register: 12.5.1. mode of receipt and dispatch of the document (by e-mail, mail, fax, courier); 12.5.2. type of the document (request for information, offer, claim, complaint, report, normative act, etc.); 12.5.3. if applicable, the limitations for access to document, etc. 12.6. The Register is to reflect also the term stipulated by the law for implementing of the document requiring examination or reply, name of department, as well as name and surname of official preparing a reply. 12.7. In order to simplify the utilization of the Register and the search of documents, the information owner prepares a Register Utilization Manual." The reports must be presented twice a year. No specific mention about the statistics, but can be inferred because the information is recorded in the registers of the public bodies.
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 55. "Report of the Authorized Agent on the Implementation of the Law 55.1.Within three months following the end of every year the authorized agent is to present a report to the Milli Mejlis of the Azerbaijan Republic. 55.2.The report of the authorized agent is to reflect the consolidated brief of works performed during a year, including the information on law violations committed by the information owners, applications, complaints, instructions, works done on the official control basis, actions undertaken as well as other matters related to the application of the Law. 55.3.The report is to be disclosed on the Internet Information Resource of the authorized agency on information matters and the periodical press. 55.4. The report is disclosed to the Internet resources of the authorized agent and published in “Azerbaijan” newspaper."