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IJC Campaign to Improve Legislation on Personal Data From the Perspective of Ensuring Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

16 June 2017
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We find that national authorities interpret the provisions of the Law on Protection of Personal Data in a restrictive manner in relation to journalists, who have the constitutional duty to inform the public on matters of public interest. Information providers often fail to apply the essential criteria of balancing the right to protection of personal data with the right to freedom of expression and information. The law defines personal data without taking into account the category of information of public interest and personal data that might become such information. Such provisions should be introduced for the purpose of legislative correlation. In the situation when some personal data are indicative of negative influence on the capacity to exercise a public function by a person in a public position, access to such data must be allowed, because there is public interest in knowing it. The provisions of article 11 of the Law on Freedom of Expression are correct, because they protect the right to private life and, at the same time, allow the public to control the government’s and all public employees’ capacities to exercise their public functions.
It is recommended to carefully set in the text of the law the conditions in which the processing of personal data is legal: to indicate the specifications of entities (that process personal data for journalistic purposes) to whom personal data can be disclosed, limitations depending on purpose, period of storage, and other measures to guarantee legal and fair processing. It is recommended to exclude journalists’ obligation to indicate the purpose of processing of personal data when they request such data.
 Activities conducted as part of the campaign:

  1. Production of the study “Personal Data Protection Vs. Freedom of Expression and Information”;
  2. Public debate with the presentation of the study “Personal Data Protection Vs. Freedom of Expression and Information”.

Activities to be implemented/conducted as part of the campaign:

  1. Development of amendments to Law no. 133 of 08 July 2011 on Protection of Personal Data;
  2. Public debate with presentation of amendments to the Law on Protection of Personal Data;
  3. Sending amendments to the Law on Protection of Personal Data to the Parliament;
  4. Campaign to promote the amendments developed by the IJC and sent to the Parliament through petitions, journalistic materials, shows, video spots, and by other means.

The campaign is conducted with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through the Embassy of Sweden in Chisinau.