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Law of Ukraine

ON INFORMATION

(VVR, 1992, #48, p. 650; enacted by VR Resolution #2658-12 ( 2658-12 ), of 02.10.92, VVR, 1992, #48, p. 651)

Leonid Kravchuk, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

City of Kyiv, October 2, 1992. #2657-XII

This Law asserts the rights of citizens of Ukraine to information, setting forth the legal principles of activities in the information sphere. Proceeding from the Declaration of National Sovereignty (55-12) and the Act of Proclamation of Independence, this Law asserts Ukraine's information sovereignty and determines the legal forms of international co-operation in the sphere of information.

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Definitions

Information in the context of this law shall be understood as documentary or publicly announced information about events and phenomena occurring in society, the state, and the environment.

Article 2

Objective and Tasks of the Law

This Law establishes the general legal principles of receiving, using, disseminating, and storing information, affirming the right of the person to information in all spheres of public and political life of Ukraine and the system of information, its sources, determining the status of participants in information relationships, regulating access to information and securing its protection, protecting the person and society from corrupt information.

Article 3

Scope

This Law shall apply to information relationships in all spheres of life and activities of society when receiving, using, disseminating, and storing information.

Article 4

Laws on Information

The laws of Ukraine on information shall consist of the Constitution of Ukraine (888-09), this Law, elements of law relating to certain branches, types, forms, and means of information, international treaties, and agreements ratified by Ukraine, and principles and norms of international law.

Article 5

Basic Principles of Information Relationships

The basic principles of international relationships shall be as follows:

Article 6

National Information Policy

The national information policy shall be understood as a system of guidelines and methods of activities of the state, aimed at receiving, using, disseminating, and storing information.

The following shall be the guidelines and methods of state [government] information activities:

The national information policy shall be worked out and implemented by bodies of state authority with common jurisdiction and by those with special jurisdiction.

Article 7

Subjects of Information Relationships

The following shall be subjects of information relationships:

Subjects of information relationships under this Law may also be other countries, their citizens, juridic persons, international organisations, and stateless persons.

Article 8

Objects of Information Relationships

Objects of information relationships shall be documentary or publicly announced information about events and phenomena in politics, economy, culture, as well as in the social, economic, international, and other spheres.

Article 9

The Right to Information

All citizens, juridic persons, and government bodies of Ukraine shall have the right to information, envisaging the possibility of free receipt, use, dissemination, and storage of any such data as may be required for the implementation of their rights, freedoms, and lawful interests, as well as for carrying out their tasks and discharging their functions.

The implementation of the right to information by citizens, juridic persons, and the state shall not infringe on the political, economic, social, cultural, ecological, and other rights, freedoms, and lawful interests of other citizens, as well as the rights and interests of juridic persons.

Each and every citizen shall be ensured free access to information relating to that citizen, except in cases envisaged by the laws of Ukraine.

Article 10

Guarantees of the Right to Information

The right to information shall be secured by:

Article 11

Information Language

The language of information shall be determined by the Law "On Languages in Ukraine" (8312-11), other elements of law in this sphere, and international treaties and agreements ratified by Ukraine.

CHAPTER II

INFORMATION ACTIVITIES

Article 12

Definition of Information Activities

Information activities shall be understood as actions aimed supplying information needs of citizens, juridic persons, and the state.

In order to satisfy these needs, central government and local and regional self-government authorities shall set up information services, systems, databases, and data banks.

The procedures of their formation, their structure, rights, and obligations shall be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine or other organs of state authority and local and regional self-government.

Article 13

Guidelines of Information Activities

The following shall be the guidelines of information activities:

The state shall be under the obligation to take constant measures to timely create, effectively operate, and develop information systems, networks, databases, and data banks in all spheres of information activities.

The state shall guarantee the freedom of information activities to all citizens and juridic persons in keeping with their rights, freedoms, functions, and powers.

Article 14

Basic Types of Information Activities

Receipt, use, dissemination, and storage of information shall be the basic types of information activities.

Receipt of information shall be understood as obtaining, acquiring, and accumulation of documentary or publicly announced information by citizens, juridic persons or the state in accordance with legally established procedures.

Use of information shall be understood as supplying the information needs of citizens, juridic persons, and the state.

Dissemination of information shall be understood as making documentary or publicly announced information known, selling, and otherwise distributing it in keeping with legally set procedures.

Storage of information shall be understood as measures to secure the proper condition of information and data-carrying media.

Receipt, use, dissemination, and storage of documentary or publicly announced information shall be carried out in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Law and other elements of law in the sphere of information.

Article 15

Professional Training in the Information Sphere

Conditions shall be provided in Ukraine for professional training in the sphere of information activities, using its system of educational establishments.

The procedures of setting up institutions of learning specialising in information (journalism, statistics, library science, archives, research and information, informatics, computers, etc.) and operating principles shall be governed by the Law of Ukraine "On Education" (1060-12) and other legislative acts.

Article 16

Organisation of Research in the Information Sphere

To secure the effective operation and development of national information systems in Ukraine, fundamental and applied research programs shall be carried out in the sphere of information.

To this end, research and progressive information technology centres, divisions, associations, etc., shall be established, including ones with foreign investment.

Fundamental and other research programmes, as well as projects of national importance at research centres and educational establishments hall be financed by the state budget, own funds, and those of customers.

Applied research programmes and developments shall be financed on a contractual basis, as a rule, and their results may be subject to exchange relations.

CHAPTER III

BRANCHES, TYPES, AND SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Article 17

Information Branches

Information branches shall be understood as documentary or publicly announced information relating to relatively independent spheres of life and activities of society and the state.

The following shall be the key information branches:

Article 18

Types of Information

Information types shall be as follows:

Article 19

Statistical Information

Statistical information shall be understood as official documentary information with quantitative characteristics of events and phenomena taking place in the economic, social, cultural, and other spheres of life in Ukraine.

Official statistical information shall be made public on a systematic basis.Citizens, educational establishments, and other interested organisations shall be secured access to statistical data that are not published provided they are not subject to restrictions set forth in this Law.

The system of statistical information, its sources, and regime shall be determined in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On Government Statistics" (2614-12) and other legislative acts in this field.

Article 20

Mass Information and its Means

Mass information shall be understood as publicly disseminated printed and audio-visual information.

Printed means of mass information shall be understood as periodicals (the press), magazines, journals, bulletins, etc., as well as separate editions with certain print runs.

Audio-visual means of mass information shall be understood as radio, television, motion pictures, soundtracks, audio and video records [cassettes], etc.

The procedures of forming (founding) and organising certain means of mass information [mass media] shall be determined by the relevant elements of law.

Article 21

Information Provided by Central State Organs and Local and Regional Self-government Authorities

Information from central state organs and local and regional self-government authorities shall be understood as official documentary information developed in the course of legislative, executive, judicial, and local and regional self-government authorities' current activities.

The main sources of this information shall be:

legislative acts of Ukraine;

Information from central state organs and local and regional self-government authorities shall be made known to the interested parties by way of:

The sources and procedures of receiving, using, disseminating, and storing official information from central state organs and local and regional self-government authorities shall be determined by elements of law relating to these authorities.

Legislative and other normative acts relating to the rights, freedoms, and lawful interests of citizens shall have legal force only when made public knowledge.

Article 22

Information Concerning the Law

Information concerning the law [1] shall be understood as documentary or publicly announced information about laws, the legal system, sources, implementation, legal circumstances, legal relationships, law and order, transgressions, and ways to combat and prevent them, etc.

The sources of information concerning the law shall be the Constitution of Ukraine (888-09), [2] other elements of law and bylaws, international treaties and agreements, norms and principles of international law, as well as non-normative instruments, announcements carried by the media, public appearances, and other sources of information concerning the law.

In order to secure all citizens access to legislative and other normative acts, the state shall provide for their mass publication within the shortest possible time since their enactment.

Article 23

Information about the Person

Information about the person shall be understood as documentary or publicly announced information about the person. Basic information about the person (personal data) shall include:

The sources of information about the person shall be documents issued in his/her name and signed by that person, and personal data collected by organs of state power and local and regional self-government authorities, acting within their respective competence.

Collection of personal data without a given person's prior consent shall be prohibited, except in cases envisaged by the law. Each and every person shall have the right to familiarise him/herself with the information about that person.

Information about the person shall be protected by this Law.

Article 24

Reference and Encyclopaedic Information

Reference and encyclopaedic information shall be understood as systematised, documentary or publicly announced information about public and state life, as well as about the environment. The main sources of this information shall be:

The system of this information and access thereto shall be regulated by the laws on libraries, archives, as well as by other branch [sectoral] laws.

Article 25

Information Relating to Social Studies

Information relating to social studies shall be understood as documentary or publicly announced information reflecting the attitude of certain citizens and social groups to social events, phenomena, processes, and facts. The main sources of information relating to social studies shall be documentary or publicly announced information reflecting the results of polls, observations, and other social studies.Social studies shall be carried out by bodies of the state and citizens' associations registered in keeping with established procedures.

Article 26

Sources of Information

Sources of information shall be understood as information carriers envisaged o established by the law: documents and other data media in the form of material objects capable of storing information, as well as information provided by the mass media and contained in public appearances [speeches].

Article 27

Documents in Information Relationships

A document shall be understood as a legally envisaged material form of receipt, storage, use, and dissemination of information by committing it to paper, recording it on a magnetic tape, film, video tape, or placing it in other media. A primary instrument shall be understood as a document containing output data. A secondary instrument shall be understood as a document resulting from an analytical synthesis and other processing of one or several documents.

Article 28

Information Access Modes

Information access modes shall be understood as legally established procedures of receiving, using, disseminating, and storing information. In terms of access mode, information shall be categorised as open and restricted access [classified] information. The state shall exercise control over information access modes.

The task of this control shall be to secure observance of the legally established information requirements by all organs of the state, enterprises, institutions, and organisations, preventing unmotivated [ungrounded] classification of information as subject to restricted access. Government control over the observance of set access mode shall be exercised by special authorities designated by the Verkhovna Rada and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

As part of its supervisory authority, the Verkhovna Rada may request and receive from government establishments, ministries, and agencies reports containing information about their efforts to provide information to the interested persons (e.g., the number of cases of denying access to information, specifying the reasons; number and motivation of restricted access cases relating to certain types of information; number of complaints about unlawful actions of officials denying such access and sanctions applied, etc.).

Article 29

Access to Open Information

Access to open information shall be secured by way of:

The procedures and conditions of providing information as requested by citizens, bodies of the state, juridic persons, and representatives of the public shall be governed by this Law or by agreements (contracts) provided such information is subject to contractual terms. Imposing restrictions on the right to receive open information shall be prohibited. The right of priority in receiving information shall be vested in citizens requiring such information in the line of duty.

Article 30

Restricted Access Information

Restricted access [classified] information, in terms of legal status, shall be categorised as confidential and secret. Confidential information shall be understood as data being possessed, enjoyed or managed by certain physical or juridic persons, to be disclosed at their discretion, subject to conditions established by these persons.

Citizens and juridic persons possessing professional, business, production, banking, business, and other information received using their own funds, or information affecting their professional, business, production, banking, business, and other interests, provided such information does not infringe on the legally established secrecy procedures, shall independently determine its access mode, including confidential status, and shall take measures to secure its protection.

The exception from the above rule shall be business and banking information, as well as data whose legal status is determined by the Verkhovna Rada as submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (in the case of statistics, ecology, banking transactions, taxes, etc.), and information which, if concealed, can hazard man's life and health.

Secret information shall be understood as data legally qualified as state and other secrets, the disclosure of which will damage the person, society, and the state.

Categorising information as state secrets and determining the access mode shall be governed by the relevant law.

Secret information turnover and protection shall be determined by relevant bodies of the state provided they abide by the requirements set forth in this Law. A separate law shall determine the procedures and terms of making secret information public knowledge.

Article 31

Citizens' Access to Information Relating to these Citizens

Each and every citizen shall have the right to:

Bodies of the state, organisations, and local and regional self-government authorities, whose information systems contain data relating to citizens, shall be under the obligation to provide unimpeded and free access to this information, except in cases envisaged by the law, and to take measures to prevent unauthorised access thereto. If any of the foregoing requirements are breached, the law shall guarantee protection of citizens from the damage resulting from use of such information.

Unauthorised access to information relating to the person and collected by bodies of the state, organisations, and officials in keeping with the laws currently in effect shall be prohibited. Information relating to the person shall not be stored longer than necessary to reach a lawfully set target.

All organisations collecting information relating to the person shall, prior to handling this information, have the relevant databases officially registered, in keeping with procedures established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The required amount of information relating to the person that can be legally obtained shall be reduced to a minimum and used only for reaching a lawfully set target.

Denial of access to such information, its concealment, or its unlawful collection, use, storage or dissemination may be appealed to the law court.

Article 32

Requests for Access to Official Documents and for Written or Oral Information

In the context of this Law, a request shall be understood as a statement requesting access to official documents. This request may be individual or collective, provided always it is submitted in writing.

A citizen shall have the right to request bodies of the state for access to any official document, regardless of whether the document relates to that citizen, except in cases of restricted access stipulated by this Law.

In the context of this Law, a request for written or oral information shall be understood as a statement requesting oral or written information relating to the activities of legislative, executive, and judicial authorities of Ukraine, as well as officials thereof with regard to certain matters.

Citizens of Ukraine, bodies of the state, organisations, and citizens' associations (hereinafter collectively referred to as questioners) shall submit their requests to a given legislative, executive or judiciary authority, or an official thereof. Each such request shall contain the questioner's name in full, the document or written or oral information required, and the forwarding address.

Legislative, executive, and judiciary authorities, as well as officials thereof shall be under the obligation to provide information relating to their activities orally, in writing, over the phone, or in their officials' public appearances.

Article 33

Terms of Handling Requests for Access to Official Documents

Each such request shall be handled over a period not to exceed ten calendar days. During this period a given body of the state shall serve written notice to the questioner to the effect that his/her request has been granted or that the document required cannot be disclosed. Each such request shall be complied with within a month, unless otherwise provided by law. The same shall apply to a request for written information.

Article 34

Denial of Request and Postponement of Access to Official Documents

Denial of a request shall be made known to the questioner, along with an explanation of the procedures of appeal from this denial.

Each statement of denial shall specify:

Postponement in carrying out a request shall be allowed if the required document cannot be made available within a month. Notice on such postponement shall be served the questioner in writing, along with an explanation of the procedures of appeal from this postponement.

Each statement of postponement shall specify:

Denial and postponement of requests for written information shall be executed using the same procedures,

Article 35

Appeal from the Denial and Postponement of Requests for Access to Official Documents

Requests for access to official documents, if denied or postponed, may be appealed from. When denied access to a document or when a request for such access is postponed, the questioner many contest this decision to a body of the state at a higher level.

If this appeal is denied, the questioner may apply to the law court. When bringing the matter to court, the body of the state being the respondent shall be under the obligation to prove the lawfulness of denial or postponement.

The court, in order to secure the completeness and impersonality of the adjudication, shall have the right to request and receive the official document(s) at issue and, having studied it (them), decide on the motivation of the body of the state [respondent]. If the denial or postponement is found unwarranted, the court shall order the body of state authority to give the questioner access to the official document and pass a separate ruling on the official(s) who denied access to the document.

Ungrounded denial of access to official documents or breaches of the prescribed time-limit within which this access is to be provided without valid reasons shall entail disciplinary or other responsibility with regard to officials of bodies of the state in keeping with procedures determined by the laws of Ukraine.

Official documents provided by legislative, executive, and judicial authorities of Ukraine, as requested, may be published.

Each questioner shall have the right to make notes using official documents thus provided, as well as to photograph them, record the text on magnetic tape, etc. The owner of the documents shall have the right to make duplicates in return for a fee.

No fees shall be collected when locating official documents. A denial or postponement of a request for written information shall be appealed from using the same procedures.

Article 36

Damage Recovery Procedures with Regard to Requests for Access to Official Documents and Written Information

Questioners shall fully or partially recompense the expenses involved in providing access to official documents and written information.

Bodies of the state shall determine the procedures of payments for copies of requested documents.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine or other bodies of the state shall determine payment procedures and fees for the collection, location, preparation, creation, and supply of requested written information, provided the said fees do not exceed the expenses actually involved in complying with such requests.

Article 37

Documents and Information Barred Access

Compulsory access to official documents as per request shall not apply to documents containing:

Article 38

The Title to Information

The title to information shall be understood as legally regulated social relations in conjunction with the possession, enjoyment, and management of information.

Information shall be considered property of citizens, organisations (juridic persons), and the state. Information may be such property as a whole or in part, to be possessed, enjoyed or managed.

The owner of information shall have the right to perform any lawful actions using this property.

The title to information shall emerge on the strength of:

Information created by several citizens or juridic persons shall be collective [joint] property belonging to the creators. The rules and regulations of its management shall be determined by a contract made among the joint owners.

Information created by organisations (juridic persons) or otherwise acquired by them using legitimate methods shall be property of these organisations.

Information created using budget funds shall be public property. Information created on the basis of individual property shall be referred to public property in case it is transferred to databases or is stored stocks or archives on a contractual basis.

The owner of information shall have the right to appoint a person to possess, enjoy, and manage this information, as well as to determine the rules of processing these data and access thereto, along with other terms and conditions.

Article 39

Information as a Commodity

Information products and services on the part of citizens and juridic persons operating in the information sphere may be subject to exchange relations regulated by the civil and other laws. Prices and price-setting with regard to information and information services shall be determined on a contractual basis, except in cases stipulated by this Law.

Article 40

Information Products

Information products shall be understood as the materialised result of information activities, meant to satisfy the information needs of citizens, bodies of the state, enterprises, institutions, and organisations.

Article 41

Information Services

Information services shall be understood as information activities being carried out in a legally determined form, aimed at conveying information products to consumers, so as to supply their information needs.

CHAPTER IV

PARTICIPANTS IN INFORMATION RELATIONSHIPS, THEIR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Article 42

Participants in Information Relationships

Participants in information relationships shall be citizens, juridic persons or the state, assuming legally envisaged rights and obligations in the course of information activities.

Authors, consumers, distributors, and keepers (protectors) of information shall be the principal participants in these relationships.

Article 43

Rights of Participants in Information Relationships

Participants in information relationships shall have the right to receive (produce, obtain), use, disseminate, and store information in any form, using any means, except in cases envisaged by the law.

Each such participant, in order to secure his/their right, freedoms, and lawful interests, shall have the right to receive information concerning:

Article 44

Obligations of Participants in Information Relationships

Participants in information relationships shall be under the obligation to:

CHAPTER V

PROTECTION OF INFORMATION

RESPONSIBILITY FOR BREACHES OF INFORMATION LAWS

Article 45

Protection of the Right to Information

The right to information shall be protected by the law. The state shall guarantee all participants in information relationships equal rights and opportunities in terms of information access.

No one shall restrict the right of the person to choose the form and sources of information, except in cases provided by law.

Information right entities may demand the elimination of any infringements on this right.

Confiscation of printed matter, exhibits, data banks, archival, library, and museum documents, as well as their destruction for ideological or political reasons shall be prohibited.

Article 46

Inadmissibility of Abuses of the Right to Information

Information shall not be used to incite the overthrow of the constitutional order, violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine, or to propagandise war, violence, cruelty, fan racial, ethnic or religious animosity, or encroach on human rights and freedoms.

Information legally qualified as state or other secrets shall not be disclosed.

Information qualified as medical secrets or those of bank deposits, business revenues, adoption, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic messages shall not be divulged except in cases envisaged by the law.

Article 47

Responsibility for Breaches of Information Laws

Breaches of the laws of Ukraine relating to information shall entail disciplinary, civil law, and administrative liabilities, as well as criminal prosecution in keeping with the laws of Ukraine.

Responsibility for breaches of information laws shall be borne by persons found to have committed the following transgressions:

Article 48

Appeal Procedures

In the event of unlawful acts envisaged by this law, committed by bodies of the state, local and regional self-government authorities, officials thereof, political parties, media, government-run organisations with the legal entity status, and private citizens, the said acts shall be appealed to higher-level bodies or to the law court.

Complains about unlawful acts on the part of officials shall be submitted to bodies having jurisdiction over these officials.

If complaints thus submitted are not dealt with to the claimant's satisfaction, the interested citizen or juridic person shall have the right to bring the matter to the law court.

Article 49

Compensations for Material and Moral Damage

In cases when unlawful actions inflict material or moral damage on citizens, enterprises, institutions, organisations, and bodies of the state, the guilty parties shall recompense this damage as ruled by the court and the latter shall determine the amount to be paid as damages.

CHAPTER VI

INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION ACTIVITIES

COOPERATION WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS IN THE INFORMATION SPHERE

Article 50

International Information Activities

International information activities shall be understood as supplying citizens, bodies of the state, enterprises, institutions, and organisations with official documentary or publicly announced information, concerning Ukraine's foreign political endeavours, events and phenomena in other countries, and as a purposeful dissemination abroad of comprehensive information about Ukraine on the part of bodies of the state, citizens' associations, and the media.

Citizens of Ukraine shall have the right to free and unimpeded access to information using foreign sources, including live telecasts, broadcasts, and the press.

The legal status and professional activities of foreign correspondents accredited to Ukraine, as well as other media people, information activities of diplomatic missions, consular offices, and other representatives of foreign countries in

Ukraine shall be governed by the laws of Ukraine and relevant international treaties signed by Ukraine.

The establishment and activities of joint ventures in the information sphere, involving domestic and foreign juridic persons and citizens, shall be subject to the laws of Ukraine.

Should an international treaty contain rules other than those set forth in the laws of Ukraine relating to the information sphere, the rules of the international treaty signed by Ukraine shall have precedence.

Article 51

International Treaties

International co-operation in the information sphere, concerning matters of mutual interest, shall be carried out as per international treaties signed by Ukraine and juridic persons operating in the information sphere.

Bodies of the state and other juridic persons operating in the information may carry out information activities for their own benefit and for that of individual and collective consumers whom they serve and guarantee supply of foreign information.

Article 52

Export and Import of Information Products (Services)

Information products (services) shall be exported and imported in accordance with the laws of Ukraine relating to foreign economic activities.

Article 53

Information Sovereignty

Ukraine's information sovereignty shall be based on the national information resources. Ukraine's information resources shall include all information belonging to Ukraine, regardless of contents, form, time, and place of creation thereof.

Ukraine shall independently form information resources and shall freely manage them, except in cases stipulated by the law and international treaties.

Article 54

Guarantees of Ukraine's Information Sovereignty

The information sovereignty of Ukraine shall be secured by: