Country

Yemen

Yemen

Name of law : Law Regarding The Right of Access to Information
First adopted : 2012

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 2
Scope 30 29
Requesting procedures 30 16
Exceptions 30 19
Appeals 30 19
Sanctions 8 3
Promotional measures 16 15
TOTAL 150 103

Introduction:
Yemen's passage of the Law of the Right of Access to Information is a welcome development, particularly as this law is relatively strong, with a broad scope and applicability and a limited range of exceptions. The most troubling aspects of the law are a potential lack of institutional independence within the oversight body (the Commissioner General for Information) and the absence of a public interest override. The fact that the law's whistleblower protection clause was significantly weakened is also troubling. Nonetheless, the passage of such a strong law is a positive development, and it is hoped that it will be properly implemented by Yemen's government.
Right of Access

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

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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 NO No constitutional right.
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 NO Not mentioned.
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 3: "This law aims to: A. Secure and facilitate the citizen's right to access information without delay and expand the rules of the exercise of rights and freedoms. B. Promote the elements of transparency and expand all opportunities for conscious and responsible participation. C. Enable the community to develop their abilities to take more advantage of the information." Art 3 mentions expanding access, and is certainly a statement of principles - I think that's worth a point. Art 3 talks about promoting transparency and expanding participation in government




Scope

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MAX score
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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 4: "Access to information is one of the basic rights of the citizen. Citizens have the right to exercise this right within the law. Foreigners can have access to information on the condition of having the same treatment." 7: "All natural and legal persons have the right to apply for access to information and there should not be any legal accountability from the submission of this application." Article 4 - citizens and foreigners, and Article 7 extends it to legal persons as well.
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 2: "<...> Information: Facts that are recognized in the conscience and which are present as moral and materialistic values in the form of numbers and letters; also, as drawings, images and sounds that which are being collected, processed and saved by electronic methods and sheets, <...>" Definition of "information" seems broad enough.
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 2: "<...> Information: Facts that are recognized in the conscience and which are present as moral and materialistic values in the form of numbers and letters; also, as drawings, images and sounds that which are being collected, processed and saved by electronic methods and sheets, <...>" Definition of "information" is quite broad.
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 2: "<...> Concerned party: The legislative, executive and judicial branches, ministries and agencies, institutions and departments of central and local units along with both the public and the mixed sector and every party shall be partially or entirely funded from the general budget of the State. <...>" Definition of "concerned party" includes entire executive with no parties excluded.
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 2: "<...> Concerned party: The legislative, executive and judicial branches, ministries and agencies, institutions and departments of central and local units along with both the public and the mixed sector and every party shall be partially or entirely funded from the general budget of the State. <...>" Definition of "concerned party" includes entire legislature with no parties excluded.
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 2: "<...> Concerned party: The legislative, executive and judicial branches, ministries and agencies, institutions and departments of central and local units along with both the public and the mixed sector and every party shall be partially or entirely funded from the general budget of the State. <...>" Definition of "concerned party" includes entire judicial branch with no parties excluded.
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 2: "<...> Concerned party: The legislative, executive and judicial branches, ministries and agencies, institutions and departments of central and local units along with both the public and the mixed sector and every party shall be partially or entirely funded from the general budget of the State. <...>" Definition of "concerned party" includes any agency receiving funding from the state, as well as the public and "mixed" sector.
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 2: "<...> Concerned party: The legislative, executive and judicial branches, ministries and agencies, institutions and departments of central and local units along with both the public and the mixed sector and every party shall be partially or entirely funded from the general budget of the State. <...>" Definition of "concerned party" includes any agency receiving funding from the state, as well as the public and "mixed" sector.
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 2: "<...> Concerned party: The legislative, executive and judicial branches, ministries and agencies, institutions and departments of central and local units along with both the public and the mixed sector and every party shall be partially or entirely funded from the general budget of the State. <...>" Definition of "concerned party" includes any agency receiving funding from the state, as well as the public and "mixed" sector, but no mention of private agencies performing a public function.

Requesting Procedures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

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Article

Comments
13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 NO 7: "All natural and legal persons have the right to apply for access to information and there should not be any legal accountability from the submission of this application." Article 7 hints at this, with no accountability for requests, but not quite enough for a point here.
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 Partially 15: "A request for access to the information in writing shall be done in accordance with the form designed for this purpose to the party whom the applicant believes it possesses the information, including the applicant's name and address of residence and work location; and this request must contain sufficient details that would enable the employee in charge to extract the information while the request for the application to access to information shall be done via Instant mail or postal mail or through direct attendance to the source of access to information or the National Center for Information; and in all cases, the application will be submitted upon the form approved for that." Art 15 - applicant required to state name and address, but also their workplace.
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 Partially 15: "A request for access to the information in writing shall be done in accordance with the form designed for this purpose to the party whom the applicant believes it possesses the information, including the applicant's name and address of residence and work location; and this request must contain sufficient details that would enable the employee in charge to extract the information while the request for the application to access to information shall be done via Instant mail or postal mail or through direct attendance to the source of access to information or the National Center for Information; and in all cases, the application will be submitted upon the form approved for that." 28(e) : "Develop a standard form for requests for access to information from the concerned authorities." Art 15 contains the requirement to use an official form, but allows for applications by email, mail or in person. 28(e) requires that the form be developed by the Commissioner General - hopefully it will be done in line with international standards.
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 NO Not mentioned.
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 16: "The procedures and forms organized to access the information shall take into account providing additional facilities appropriate for the illiterate and those with special needs." Art 16 - procedures for the illiterate or those with 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 YES 17: "After receiving the request, the employee in charge shall immediately give notice of receipt to those who have made the request indicating the date of submission of the application and the type of information and the time required to respond to the request specified in this law."
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 Partially 22: "If the request is denied, in whole or in part, the employee has to show in a written reply that would be submitted to the applicant, the reason for the rejection of the application and that reason should not be: A. That the information is not held by the party. B. That the information required fall within the scope of one or more exceptions specified in this law and that Article (27) is not applicable while the exception/exceptions that were utilized should be referred to." Art 22 allows for such transfers, keeping the original timeline, which is good, but they lose a point because transfers are permitted in situations where the other authority has a greater connection to the information.
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 Partially 22: "If the request is denied, in whole or in part, the employee has to show in a written reply that would be submitted to the applicant, the reason for the rejection of the application and that reason should not be: A. That the information is not held by the party. B. That the information required fall within the scope of one or more exceptions specified in this law and that Article (27) is not applicable while the exception/exceptions that were utilized should be referred to." Art 22 allows for such transfers, keeping the original timeline, which is good, but they lose a point because transfers are permitted in situations where the other authority has a greater connection to the information.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 NO Not mentioned.
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 18: "The employee in charge shall respond to the request within fifteen days from the date of its submission, the employee may extend this period for one period of time not to exceed fifteen days if the application contains a large number of information, or if access to information requires reasonable consultation of another party, whereas it would be considered as a denial to the request if there was no response during that period of time. <...>" 15 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 18: "The employee in charge shall respond to the request within fifteen days from the date of its submission, the employee may extend this period for one period of time not to exceed fifteen days if the application contains a large number of information, or if access to information requires reasonable consultation of another party, whereas it would be considered as a denial to the request if there was no response during that period of time. And where such extension is appropriate, the employee in charge shall report to the applicant in writing, during original period of time while giving priority to requests that were applied by the journalists and people who collect news and job seekers who work during the time limits or by those who ask for information on issues dealing with the public interest or public affairs." Article 18 - One extension for 15 days - if the application contains a large number of information, or if access to information requires reasonable consultation of another party - with a requirement for notification. Also - it prioritizes requests by journalists or by those who ask for information on issues dealing with the public interest or public affairs.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES 19: "A. The employee in charge shall enable the applicant to have access to information from him and determines the cost of that, where appropriate, if copies were requested. B. If the employee in charge found that part of the information required is under one or more exceptional articles as specified in this law, and that it is based on this exception, then, he would have to deliver the part that is not excluded and deliver a notice to the applicant in writing that there is a part of the information that was withheld from him, specifying in writing the specific exception in this law upon which the employee in charge has relied to with hold the requested information. C. If the request is made to get the information and the information is available at the source in another language or in a different way from what is required, then, it would be sufficient to simply hand over the requested information in the language or form in which the two are available as long as they contain the required information." 2: "<...> The cost of access to information: It is the actual cost incurred to portray or copy the information required on paper or electronically excluding the cost of any staff time it takes to arrange these copies and highlighted or moved. <...>" Art 19 - this is not mentioned explicitly, but it suggests that fees are contingent on copying. This is reinforced by the language of Art 2 under "cost of accessing information".
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 YES 2: "<...> The cost of access to information: It is the actual cost incurred to portray or copy the information required on paper or electronically excluding the cost of any staff time it takes to arrange these copies and highlighted or moved. <...>" "The cost of accessing information" is defined as "actual cost incurred to portray or copy the information required on paper or electronically excluding the cost of any staff time it takes to arrange these copies and highlighted or moved." The law also describes fees as only being levied "where appropriate" - meaning they are optional.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Not mentioned - though requests in the public interest are prioritized in terms of timelines.
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

Indicator

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MAX score
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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 64: "Any provision contrary to the provisions of this law shall be deleted." Article 64 states this.
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 24(g) : "Information of a commercial, financial or economic nature, or even industrial, or scientific or technical researches, the disclosure of which would lead to the breaching of copyright and intellectual property or of the fair and legitimate competition, or which would lead to illegitimate profit or loss to any person or company." 24(c) : "The information exchanged with other countries with whom it has been agreed to keep the information confidential before the exchange or delivery of this information." 24(g) allows an exception for copyright which is too broad, since it fails to distinguish between privately held copyright or IP and those of the public body. Other than that the commercial exception is ok. 24(c) - exempting material involved in confidential exchanges, is also overly broad.
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 Partially 24(a) : "details of weapons and defensive tactics and strategies, and military forces or secret military operations aimed at protecting the homeland;" 24(b) : "Confidential matters relating to foreign policy affairs for defense and military alliances." 24(a) and (b) - military information is not harm tested. International confidences isn't explicitly harm tested - but I think that by stating that the disclosure will violate a promise of confidendiality by the state the harm is implied.
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 NO No public interest override.
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 27: "Shall be established under the provisions of this law, the Office of the Commissioner General of Information has a legal personality and independence necessary for the exercise of his office functions. The office is allocated to a separate budget within the general budget of the state." 27 contains a sunset clause of 30 years - a bit too long, but I'll give them the point.
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 19(b): "If the employee in charge found that part of the information required is under one or more exceptional articles as specified in this law, and that it is based on this exception, then, he would have to deliver the part that is not excluded and deliver a notice to the applicant in writing that there is a part of the information that was withheld from him, specifying in writing the specific exception in this law upon which the employee in charge has relied to with hold the requested information." 19(b) - requires that portions that aren't exempted be delivered.
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 Partially 19(b): "If the employee in charge found that part of the information required is under one or more exceptional articles as specified in this law, and that it is based on this exception, then, he would have to deliver the part that is not excluded and deliver a notice to the applicant in writing that there is a part of the information that was withheld from him, specifying in writing the specific exception in this law upon which the employee in charge has relied to with hold the requested information." 23: "In case the applicant of the decision is not convinced, he is entitled then and in accordance with Articles (30) to (32) of the Act to complain to the Office of the Commissioner General, with the recourse to go to court if he is not convinced by the decision of the Office of the Commissioner General." 19(b) - requirement for justification if information is severed, but no requirement to spell out the appeals procedures for appeal. Similarly, Art 23 requires an explanation for refusals, but again no mention of appeal procedures


Appeals

Indicator

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MAX score
Findings

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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 NO Not mentioned.
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 25: "Subject to the provisions of Articles (4, 19.20 / b, 23) of the Act, the officer shall reject any request for access to information if that information contains: A. Information which, if disclosed, may endanger the life of an individual or put his physical safety at risk. B. Personal data which, if disclosed, may be considered as an illogical violation to the privacy of the individual, unless the personal data are connected to the duty or function or public office held by that individual." Art 25 - with the Office of the Commissioner-General
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 33: "The Office is headed by the Information Commissioner general in the rank of minister appointed by the President of the Republic and he shall preside over the office for four years, renewable for one time only." 38: "The services of the Commissioner General shall end in the following conditions: A. If he is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and loyalty B. If he worked in any other position or rank C. In the case of the death of the Commissioner-General." The Commissioner General is appointed by the President - Art 33. However, Art 38 allows for dismissal only if convicted, deceased, or if the Commissioner holds another job.
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 Partially 27: "Shall be established under the provisions of this law, the Office of the Commissioner General of Information has a legal personality and independence necessary for the exercise of his office functions. The office is allocated to a separate budget within the general budget of the state." Art 27 - "The office is allocated to a separate budget within the general budget of the state" - doesn't mention how it's approved though.
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 Partially 34: "It is stipulated to the Commissioner General the following conditions: A. Be a Yemeni national. B. Be at least forty years of age. C. Hold at least a university degree in information systems. D. To be of good character and behavior, complying to the Islamic ordinances and that no court order has been issued against him in a case involving moral and loyalty matters unless he has been acquitted thereof. E. Have an administrative experience of no less than five years." Art 34(c) requires at least a university degree in information systems, good character and beheviour including a clean judicial record with regards to cases involving moral and loyalty and at least five years of administrative experience. No mention of political connections.accepts.
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 41: "For the purposes of the implementation of the Commissioner General of his functions, he has the following powers: A. Receive periodic reports from the parties specified in this Law, at his request. B. The right to enter any public institution and inspect its records, papers, and any related evidences related to required information. C. Investigation with any employee in isolation in order to reach the required information D. Over whoever has concealed or destroyed information or amended information contrary to its veracity for the purpose of evading its submission to the applicants. E. Request clarification in writing from the senior state officials such as ministers and the like on why they have concealed the information if this concealment is a result of orders from them directly. The Commissioner General in this case and if he is not convinced of all justifications offered has the right to submit the report to the House of Representatives to take appropriate action. F. Make decisions and recommendations to the authorities regarding the application of the provisions of this law." Art 41 definitely grants inspection powers. It also implies the ability to review any document - this is a bit unclear due to translation issues, but it seems like they have this power.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES 40: "The recommendations and decisions of the Commissioner General related to his duties in accordance with the provisions of this law are considered binding on all parties." Yes - Art 40
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 YES 31: "The office has to answer to the complaint within a period not exceeding thirty days from the date of its submission to him and the Office must immediately after receiving the complaint send a letter to the employee in charge in the party that has rejected the request for access to information, in which he will be informed of his complaint and will get a copy of the reasons that the employee in charge has identified for refusal. And the Commissioner General who acts as an arbitrator has to decide independently whether a refusal to disclose legal, or not shall be taken and then bind the party of the necessity of meeting the demand within seven days of the issuance of his decision." Art 31 gives them the power to order disclosure.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES 23: "In case the applicant of the decision is not convinced, he is entitled then and in accordance with Articles (30) to (32) of the Act to complain to the Office of the Commissioner General, with the recourse to go to court if he is not convinced by the decision of the Office of the Commissioner General." Art 23 - if they are not convinced by the decision of the Office of the Commissioner-General
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 This is not mentioned.
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 YES 30: "Complaints must be submitted to the Office within thirty days from the date of receipt of the applicant a rejection to his request." Art 30 - The language in the translation is a bit muddled, but this sections seems to say that appeals can be filed against refusals, overcharging, breaches of timelines, forwarding of requests multiple times, or any other case the Commissioner General accepts.
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 31: "The office has to answer to the complaint within a period not exceeding thirty days from the date of its submission to him and the Office must immediately after receiving the complaint send a letter to the employee in charge in the party that has rejected the request for access to information, in which he will be informed of his complaint and will get a copy of the reasons that the employee in charge has identified for refusal. And the Commissioner General who acts as an arbitrator has to decide independently whether a refusal to disclose legal, or not shall be taken and then bind the party of the necessity of meeting the demand within seven days of the issuance of his decision." 35: "The Commissioner General is to follow up and issue decisions on appeals submitted to the Office and the appointment of office staff and to implement a system of their own in order to apply the provisions of this law." 31 has timelines - complaints must be responded to within 30 days of receipt. The section also contains some procedures - this would be further clarified by regulation according to Art 35.
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 Not mentioned.
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 41(f) : "Make decisions and recommendations to the authorities regarding the application of the provisions of this law." Art 41(f) gives them the power to make decisions and recommendations to the authorities regarding the application of the provisions of this law - but it doesn't explicitly say they can impose solutions to problems.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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MAX score
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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 58: "A penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty thousand riyals to each one who has concealed any information due to look at and deliberately under the provisions of this law." 60: "A penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than three months or a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty thousand riyals to each employee who has violated deliberately the provisions of articles (18-23), (25-27), (51-55), 58) of this law." 61: "A penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than two years or a fine of not less than five hundred thousand riyals to every person who has deliberately violated the provisions of Article (11) of the Act." 62: "National Information Center is one of those parties that collect and analyze information and maintain them for submission upon request, in accordance with the provisions of this law." Art 58 - one year or a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty thousand riyals for hiding information. Art 60 - imprisonment for a period of not less than three months and not exceeding one year or a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty thousand riyals for misleading the applicant. Art 61 - same for violating some other articles of the law - but this includes the exceptions which is problematic.Art 62 - A penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than two years or a fine of not less than five hundred thousand riyals to every person who has deliberately failed to publish their required annual report (proactive publication).
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 61: "A penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than two years or a fine of not less than five hundred thousand riyals to every person who has deliberately violated the provisions of Article (11) of the Act." The sanctions for failure to proactively publish in 61 cover this, but no word on remedial mechanisms.
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 13: "It is not permitted to in flict any punishment on any employee who has given information to an authorized investigation entity about violations or infringements of this law or who has assisted in any investigation about any violation or infringement of this law. Also, he may not be subject to Disciplinary accountability by the administration to which he is affiliated." Article 13 has whistleblower protection, but only for reporting breaches to an investigating authority and only from administrative sanctions. This is not proper whistleblower protection.


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 8: "Each party ought to designate an information specialist who would head a unit of information that is part of the components of the national system of information and is linked administratively and functionally to the pertaining party, and he shall: A. Control the necessary powers to search and access to the information required. B. Consider all requests for access of information. C. Maintain and preserve the information. D. Disseminate procedures and forms in ways that would allow the beneficiaries to look at them easily." 46: "There shall be established within a unit of information on each side an appropriate administrative level that is specialized in the supervision and control over the application of the security standards related to the information provided in all parties." Article 8 - information specialists responsible for maintaining, preserving, and disseminating the information. Article 46 requires that specialized units be established to supervise and control the 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 YES 28(b) : "To educate the citizens and raise awareness about the importance of his/her right to be informed and access to information." 28(b) contains a promotional role for the Office of the Commissioner-General of 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 28(b) : "To educate the citizens and raise awareness about the importance of his/her right to be informed and access to information." This is mentioned under 28(B), but the law does not go into specifics.
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 9: "The party shall do maintenance and preservation of information in their possession systematically and in an order that would allow the employee in charge to easily execute its extraction process using the necessary techniques, methods and software." 45: "It is not permissible to exploit the failure or absence of the security systems of the information in order to execute an illegal act that which would cause harm to the information." 48: "All systems and application software that are introduced, built and used by the different parties must have the security standards that ensure reliability and safety of regular operation, and these security standards shall be developed regularly, and in a timely manner." 49: "All parties have to set and apply the rules and the administrative, technical and physical procedures, to protect information systems and networks and ensure their continuity and regularity of operation." 50: "It is not permissible for any party to collect, process, save and use of personal data of the citizen, contrary to the Constitution and the laws in force." Art 9 mentions this. Art 45 describes the need to create a safe reserve for information relating to the agency's management, which seems to be about preserving and protecting information. 48 - 50 also deals with this.
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 Partially 11(c) : "Index of all types of information that legally oblige the party in charge to execute their conservation and maintenance."
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 10: "The party shall organize training courses for its employees regarding the importance of the right to access and to enable citizens to exercise and how to save the information and find the best and fastest ways to save and retrieve them." 28(c) : "Contribute to training of staff and officials of the agencies on how to enable the individual to have access to information and the importance of that." Article 10 is explicit on this requirement, and 28(c) gives further responsibility on this to the Commissioner General
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 11: "The party must put informational evidences and publish annual reports containing at least the following: A. Management information on the mechanism of action to include the objectives, activities and programs and the final accounts, along with information on areas of its official activities and the results of the performance of its constitutional and legal duties. B. Determine how and where the citizens get the information and make requests and learn about the documents, receive and abstract copies and get a decision. C. Index of all types of information that legally oblige the party in charge to execute their conservation and maintenance. D. A report on requests for access to information that have been received and that have been operated upon and those that have been rejected and the reasons for rejection and motions that have been submitted, a long with the actions relating thereto, and the average number of days during which there has been responses to requests for information. E. Directory lists of the topics that you must publish along with the dates and methods of their dissemination. F. As for any other additional information that the Commissioner sees it necessary to publish in accordance with the purposes of this Act."
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 12: "You must provide the National Information Center with the information that are published under Article (11) of this Act and both the party and the National Information Center have to provide this information through sheets or electronically, either free of charge or at prices not exceeding the cost of obtaining information." 11: "The party must put informational evidences and publish annual reports containing at least the following: A. Management information on the mechanism of action to include the objectives, activities and programs and the final accounts, along with information on areas of its official activities and the results of the performance of its constitutional and legal duties. B. Determine how and where the citizens get the information and make requests and learn about the documents, receive and abstract copies and get a decision. C. Index of all types of information that legally oblige the party in charge to execute their conservation and maintenance. D. A report on requests for access to information that have been received and that have been operated upon and those that have been rejected and the reasons for rejection and motions that have been submitted, a long with the actions relating thereto, and the average number of days during which there has been responses to requests for information. E. Directory lists of the topics that you must publish along with the dates and methods of their dissemination. F. As for any other additional information that the Commissioner sees it necessary to publish in accordance with the purposes of this Act." 44: "Each party keeps a safe reserve, including copies of all that information in its possession relating to its mandate and its official activities, and this takes into account the introduction of means and modern mechanisms to save the information to minimize space and places of archives and the use of modern indexing, which facilitates access to information." Article 12 says the National Information Center collects the reports under Art 11. Art 44 contains a reporting requirement every four months for the Commissioner General.