Danish Journalists have urged new government to amend media law 

Denmark

June 20, Copenhagen: The Danish Journalists’ Union (DJ), has launched a campaign asking the newly elected government in Denmark to amend the Danish freedom of information law and improve transparency and open access to government documents and information for citizens and journalists.

According to the Danish Open Administration Act, also known as the “Closure Act”, which was passed in 2013 with a majority vote in the parliament, reduces the level of transparency by blocking access of citizens and media to information concerning the political decision-making process.

Lars Werge, Chairman of DJ, is calling on the Danish parliament to change this law and secure openness in the work of ministers and parliamentarians. Werge said, “The Act must be amended. It will damage the credibility of a democratic government to have such a law especially when many parliamentarians are against it.”

According to a survey conducted by DJ, 79% of the 195 candidates from all political parties said that they were either “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with the Act. Only 9% were satisfied with the Act, which  regulates the extent to which the public and the media can obtain public access rights to the work of parliamentary politicians and the advice provided by civil servants to government ministers.

“It is quite clear that there is a great deal of resistance to the Act deep among politicians. It is time to change the law so that citizens and journalists can have better access to monitor and participate in the democratic decision-making process of our government,” added Werge.

According to the European Federation of Journalists, Over 100 countries have introduced similar legislation on freedom of expression. It is considered as an important tool for investigative journalists to report on government matters that are in the public interest. In the European Union, Article 42 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 15 of the European Union Treaty give “[a]ny citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, […] a right of access to documents of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, whatever their medium.”

The Oslo Times and Agencies

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