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Порталус


STATE INFORMATION POLICY & FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Дата публикации: 06 декабря 2021
Автор(ы): Olexandr SOSNIN
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: ПОЛИТОЛОГИЯ
Источник: (c) Politics and the Times 2003-03-31
Номер публикации: №1638804889


Olexandr SOSNIN, (c)

Olexandr Sosnin, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Assistant Professor

* * *

In the democratic society freedom of speech and right to information are fundamental values.

Only the state can guarantee their practical realization.

The contemporary system of state information policy is regulated by legislative acts. However, some lawmakers and authors of the Conception of National Information Policy consider it through the information openness prism orienting to the constitutional right to free search, obtaining and spread of various data. To their mind, all problems may be solved if we prevent submission of mass media to authorities, improve freedom of speech legislation, if there is pluralism of thoughts, access to official data etc, which is important for the making of democratic legal state.

At the same time today we clearly see as the freedom of speech problem is being excluded from the general state information policy because the lawmaking does not take into consideration the civilized understanding of the freedom of speech. Thence the information-legal isolation of the overwhelming majority of population. Laws and by-laws are published only in several official editions. As a rule, radio and TV newscasts only mention legislative acts and other official documents without expert explanations. Should we find normatively-legal information in the Internet? But only a small percentage of Ukrainian citizens have access to it. What about newspapers, periodicals, and TV? They also fail to satisfy legal hunger. There is a glut of advertising in the mass media. The ad spree goes beyond civilized and legal bounds. And all of it is justified by the freedom of speech and pluralism of thoughts.

The solution of the problem will depend on the objective answer about the independence of mass media. They may be independent from authorities, social and political groups, but they can not be independent from their own people.

So, in our political life we have no pluralism of

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thoughts and civilized ideological variety, but an internal information war of political forces, opposition with authorities and vice versa. In recent years, these opposition forces use to appeal to influential foreign sponsors. And all that is motivated by the freedom of speech.

The ideological variety and pluralism of views is also an important aspect. These fundamental democratic values may be realized only in combination with guarantees of information right, necessary limitations of this right in the interests of the national security, other social necessities, protection of life, health and dignity. In this connection it is very important to balance interests of citizens and actions of authorities, consolidated responsibility of all information entities for keeping inside constitution demands and laws.

It has nothing to do with censorship as systematization of the official information activities with respect to the mass media. It entails civil law, administrative and criminal sanctions against the offenders. It deals with information and common culture of mass media, society as a whole, their understanding of national interests and requirements of national security. We should underline, that in countries, to which we frequently refer as democracy standards, protection of national interests in all vital spheres and security always considered a national priority. They are no less important, than the freedom of speech. It became especially significant after September 11 and acts of terrorism in Russia.

Considering the problems of constitutional right to information, we should conclude that there are no mechanisms of its realization, namely:

* there is no defined obligations and responsibilities of state structures and legal entities concerning the open access information resources and compensation for decision making on the order, terms, scope and registration forms, accumulation and keeping of the latter and their accessibility, either free or for money;

* current legislation stipulates for special information services in the state structures guaranteeing accessibility to information. However, without determination of competence of state structures concerning obligatory creation of such services and under conditions of residual financing, this legal norm remains declarative;

* recommendation data on state structures and local self-government may be not targeted.

The aforesaid artificially blocks some information flaws in Ukraine. There are no legal mechanisms regulating equal access to open information and many economic units work without proper knowledge of competitive market environment. The bureaucratic structures use information compiled at the cost of taxpayers. And only commercial structures in the framework of public offices have a priority free access fixing the price for information services. And, for example, users of economic information, which are unable to pay, turn to illegal channels.

The imperfection of these legal mechanisms paves the road for abuses in the information sphere. The uncertainty of legal mechanisms controlling the limited information access (exclusive of state and bank secrets) leads to social conflicts due to distorted idea about information and information rights and freedoms and due to unlawful limitations of information by the state structures.

The domestic and foreign appreciate the development of legislational basis on information; however, we still have to create regulatory basis concerning national information resources, i. e. define legal mechanisms of their formation, development, spread, and control by the state.

These legal norms should be determined by the objective information development laws and directives. The authorized structure of information resources and legislative means of their formation, development, spread, and effective use need further scientific and juridical detailed elaboration. It is important, that this legal base takes into account the

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existing authorized structure of information resources and plans its future improvement with the help of modern information technology.

Taking into account current economic embarrassments, it would be expedient- according to state priorities-to create national databases, including the most important information resources for economic and social development and national security.

For example, the importance of scientific and technical data for social progress needs no explanations. At the same time the system of national scientific-and-technical- information resources accomplished on the basis of the law of Ukraine "On Scientific and Technical Information" can not satisfy information demands of the society and state. It includes only the information resources connected with the programs of the Ministry of Education and Science; unfortunately, it became customary for a ministry or another state structure to gather information only for its needs without general coordination of database compilation technologies. There are no mechanisms of information registration and spread in the national interests; i. e. Ukraine receives during interstate scientific and technical cooperation.

Finally, there is no national information service about the most important international high-tech programs (HTP). The data capture on the participation in international HTP is performed with the hang-the-expense doubling. And the last one: the monitoring of foreign IT trends needs drastic improvement.

That's why it is urgent to create the State register of information resources of Ukraine (metadata bank & bases). It should be simple and practical serving as a reliable guide in the data file. The inquiry and subscriber display of central and local data despite of the form of property would be of great help.

But it cannot be done without financial, organizational, legal, material and technical means. Which ones?

Determination of state structure responsible for the registration of data bases and banks, monitoring of funds, their reliable keeping and protection, provides information to users about data bases and banks of the State Information Resources Registry of Ukraine (exclusive of those containing state secret); controls and co- ordinates departmental, regional and local structures concerning proper formation of bases and banks of information resources and gives information for timely registration in the State Information Resources Registry of Ukraine;

appropriation of funds and staffing of the departments of central, regional and local state structures taking part in the State Information Resources Registry of Ukraine (i. e. creation of special hierarchical structure).

It needs rethinking and correction of the tasks of national, regional and local informatization programs. The results of this activity shouldn't be estimated by quantitative data on computerization level, providers, sites etc only; the nationwide systematization of information resources should be the first priority. On such conditions the State Information Resources Registry can become an important instrument of governmental monitoring, while metadata retrieval will provide data access for citizens, public organizations and state structures.

We should determine who is to carry over and protect the National information resources monitoring. It is very important to substantiate why information resources should belong to the state. The legal norm of the law "About Information" (пар.38) maintaining that information, created at the expense of the state, is a public property, can not be considered exhaustive. In Ukraine a considerable part of information resources is created due to the secondary allotting of budgetary means to different off- budget funds, which are also created at the expense of taxpayers.

With that end in view it would be good to create a system of state registration of the information resources as property or holdings. From the legal and organizational points of

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view they are mostly depersonalized today. With the exception of certain patented data. However, this variant of intellectual property does not always cover the public property. Maybe we'd rather inventory the information resources? Several years ago socially active scientists made such suggestions.

This inventory may be based on the decree of the President or the Cabinet. As a result the state information resources will be included as property or holding into the key assets of enterprises, institutions, and organizations. Then if state proprietary rights are infringed (funds of scientific and technical libraries, technical documentation, inventions, inventions, industrial standards, useful models, trade marks etc.) we will be able to take it into court. And the said inventory will guarantee the state interests, while the fiscal policy will help to insure risks. There will also appear another source of replenishment of the state budget, which is rather important now.

This is only a short list of problems in the domain of information relations, but it clearly demands adoption of special legislation. It has been two years already that the draft "About the National Information Resources" is under consideration at the state structures. Besides, the President gave the commission to the Cabinet (as of 13.12.2000, # 2660) to speed up drafting of bills for the Verkhovna Rada, including the bill "About the National Information Resources".

So, the creation of effective modern system of national information resources will give all subjects of information relations a possibility to realize their constitutional rights.

That is, all-from separate person to government and non-public establishments and organizations-will have equal rights to information. This is not an "information communism". This is an important precondition of a democratic state.

Translated by Les Herasymchuk

Опубликовано на Порталусе 06 декабря 2021 года

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