A group of civil society organizations, media professionals and academics have submitted a bill to demand increased freedom of information from the government, said the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights in a Thursday statement.
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, American University in Cairo history professor Khaled Fahmy and Egypt Independent Editor-in-Chief Lina Attalah were among those who helped draft the bill, which was submitted on 27 February, the statement said.
The transparency bill emphasized private and government bodies' responsibility to routinely make public basic data about their internal structures and decisions. It endorsed these entities creating posts of information officials, who would be responsible for collecting and disseminating information about their organizations.
The bill proposes the establishment of a Supreme Council of Information, whose members would be appointed by the prime minister, to be responsible for disclosing information about private and government bodies.
The bill also suggests that the People's Assembly elects and the president appoints an information commissioner.<<How can the commissioner be elected and appointed? the commissioner is a different thing like in the UN The Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights>> The information commissioner should get adequate resources from the People's Assembly to do his job, and submit an annual report to the Parliament.
The proposed information commissioner would arbitrate disputes between parties requesting information and government or private bodies, in case the government or private entities refuse to disclose requested information.
"The real guarantee for the protection of freedom of information is the complete independence of the commissioner, as provided in the bill," said the statement.