Dec 17, 2009

The Right to (Pay for) Information

Apparently the international community just took notice of a Tajik government decree that charges privately-owned media for access to public information. The decree was passed in October and put into effect in November.

The media were not consulted about the decree, which was not submitted to parliament and was not the subject of any debate. It concerns “all information in official documents” except state secrets and information involving individual citizens.

The decree violates international standards as well as Tajikistan's own constitution. Nice.

And it turns out, public information is not cheap. Since the decree took effect, privately-owned media have been charged up to 25 somoni (4 euros) for each page of information. I guess the government needs revenue from something. Information is in fact a commodity.

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