At its sitting held on April 2, the Armenian government approved a draft law restricting the provision of environmental information proposed by the Ministry of Environment. The bill envisages: "4. The provision of environmental information may be refused if it may adversely affect the environment, including rare species breeding sites." This legislative initiative has been criticized by the public. Shushan Doydoyan, President of Freedom of Information Center, described it as "an illiterate project rejected by the public". “Environment Minister, you are not behaving rightly at this moment. When everyone is busy, you hidingly bring to the agenda of the government session an illiterate project rejected by civil society, proposing to amend the Law on Freedom of Information. This project did not receive proper public discussion, did not receive the approval of civil society; moreover, it received severe criticism. You have to listen to our opinion, ” Shushan Doydoyan posted on her Facebook page. Journalists Without Borders has issued twitted on the bill, noting that the government's restriction of environmental information violates the principle of transparency adopted by the authorities. We would like to add that the references made by the Environment Ministry to the Aarhus Convention and the justification for restricting access to information is not justified. The ministry has ignored the fact that access to important environmental information contributes to the fulfillment of the Aarhus Convention's core mission of full public participation in decision-making. It is precisely this mission that becomes a major issue in the dialogue with the Ministry and other responsible agencies, in particular with Environmental and Mining Inspection Body.
April 03, 2020 at 14:41