Parties Agree On Controversial Information Law

By Abdel Hamid Zebari for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

After three years of negotiations on the law regarding the right to information in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the ruling bloc, comprised of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the opposition, the Movement for Change, Jamaa Islamiya and the Kurdistan Islamic Union, reached a consensus on a formula to grant exceptions to this controversial law.

In a regular session held Monday [June 3], the Kurdistan Region of Iraq parliament approved a number of military, security, political and personal exceptions in Article 15 of the mentioned law.

The article stipulates, "Any public or private institution shall not refrain from providing information under the pretext of preserving the institution’s interests, if the public interest requires the disclosure of such information.”

The article also stipulates that “public and private institutions have the right to refuse to provide information if this information is related to defense or security issues in Kurdistan (details on armament, military movements, secret military and intelligence missions, troops movements, defensive tactics and intelligence information).”

The exceptions also include “withholding information that will affect the course of negotiations between the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and other parties" and "information that is linked to the exchange of information between two negotiating parties, if the parties agreed on keeping them confidential." They also include "withholding information that will affect the course of investigations and trials, or information that is harmful to legitimate competitions related to copyright or intellectual property rights.”

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