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Maltese government should follow example of European Anti-fraud office – AD

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ADAlternattiva Demokratika has said that the Maltese government should follow the example of the European Anti fraud office (OLAF) and strengthen measures to safeguard freedom of information and protection of whistleblowers in Malta.

Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, said, “The main points being adopted by the EU Anti-Fraud office are a new and transparent procedure to select and appoint its director general, new transparent rules on the composition of the Supervisory Committee, better protection for whistleblowers and suspects by a review advisor, protection of journalists and a strengthened cooperation with the Member-States during the investigations and in the follow up of fraud cases.”

“The Maltese government would do well to follow some of these recommendations in its procedures,” concluded Prof. Cassola.

With regards to the proposed Freedom of Information Act in Malta and the discussions taking place about the Act, Stephen Cachia, Alternattiva Demokratika Spokesperson on Democracy and Civil rights, added:, “Alternattiva Demokratika proposes:

* That the exemption of the Electoral Commission, the Employment Commission, the Public Service Commission and the National Audit Office is removed. It is in the interest of democracy that all these institutions are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

* That Cabinet documents, after a reasonable period of time and not touching on the State’s security and some documents falling under the Broadcasting Authority should also be subject to the provisions of the act.

* That the Freedom of Information Act should make a blanket declaration of freedom of information subject only to those limited cases where the security of the state would be threatened by the proposed disclosure. Only in such few and rare cases would a limitation to freedom of information be tolerated. The limit to disclosure of information should be the exception and not the rule.

* That the right to freedom of information should not be limited to persons who have been resident in Malta for at least five years. The Freedom of Information Act worthy of the name should safeguard the interests of all, irrespective of their length of stay in Malta.

* That requests for information should be satisfied in a timely manner. Every government department and public entity should appoint an official whose duty is to help citizens to access the information they require.”

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