The purpose of this law is toensurethe public’sright to and freedom ofaccess to information. This law providesforduties of public institutions toprovide and disseminate information publicly, in conformity with theConstitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and article 19 ofthe Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Comments
This law has the following objectives:
a) To promote and ensure thefulfillment of public institutions’ obligations of broadly providing and disseminating information to the public;
b) To ensure public participations in political, economic, social, and cultural affairs of the nation, as described in article 35 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia;
c) To provide information to the public as part of anawarenessofresponsibilities, activities, actions and decisions taken by the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia in order tostrengthen accountability and truth before the public;
d) To assist the public in following up the public institutions’ working activities to ensure that public funds shall be used as planned;
e) To promote the good management of various documents and databases of public institutions so as to make policies of providing services to the public;
f) To encourage public institutions to fulfill their duties with good quality, effectiveness, transparency, and accountability;
g) To reducethe confidential information as much as possible.
This law is applicable to all pieces of information, which shall be provided by public institutions both at national administration and subnational administration across the Kingdom of Cambodia, with the exception of a certain number of confidential information laid down by this law.Comments
Technical terms used in this law includethe followings:
- Information:refers toall piece ofofficialdocuments under the possession of public institutions;
- Public Information:refers tothe information that public institutions have to widely disseminate to the public without request;
- Personal Privacy Information
- Professional Confidential Information;
- Personal Information:refers tothe information about any person (including information forming list of data) whether it’s true or untrue and recorded or not recorded in the original form of documents;
- Confidential Information:refers tothe information that public institutions cannot disclose to applicant;
- Official:refers to aperson who fulfills its functions in public institutions, whether on permanent or temporary basis and fulltime or part-time basis;
- Official in Charge of Information:refers to an official appointed by public institutions having function of managing documents and providing information services to the public;
- Information Office:refers to a place, established by public institutions, where information is provided to applicant;
- Public Institutions:refer to ministries, secretariats of state or such other units, as well as subordinate local administrative authorities and provinces/capital, municipalities/districts/khans, communes/sangkats created by the law, royal decree, sub-decree, prakas or other regulations, in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia;
- Applicant:refers to a person who makes a request for information;
- National Administrations:refer to ministries, institutions or equivalent public entities, and subordinate specialized departments;
- Subnational Administrations: refer to capitals/provinces, municipalities/ districts/khans, and communes/sangkats under the authority of each council.
- InformationDamaging to National Security:
a) Refers to all kind of confidential information endangering territorial integrity and stability, which is vital for the Kingdom of Cambodia; and
b) Refers to all kind of confidential information of the royal armed force and the national police wherethe disclosure of which shall be harmful to the fulfillment of missions andthe operation ofarmed force in the Kingdom of Cambodia;
- Public Servant: refers to a person who works for national or subnational administrations;
- Public Order: refers to all kinds of confidential information where the disclosureof which will lead to confusion, turmoil and violence that cause social instability and disorder.
All personshave the right to and freedom of access to information held by public institutions under the provisions of this law.Comments
All public institutions shall abide by the principle of maximum disclosure. Forward this end, they shall regularly update andbroadly disseminate informationaboutaction plans, budgeting, fulfillment of tasks, responsibilities, and other decisions in connection with national and public interestssuch as:
a) Organization and functioning of all public institutions, including working activities and otherachievements;
b) Public institutions’ development plan of infrastructures and all sectors;
c) Detailed information aboutservices mechanism, together with list of fees of the public services to be provided by public institutions to the public;
d) Laws, regulations, policies, decisions, and duties of public institutions relating to rights, freedoms, obligations, and public interests;
e) All aspects of functioning and procedures at courts, includingadministrative affairs, which are of the interestof and have direct connectionwith the public, except for a certain number of prohibitedprovisions;
f) Annual budget plan attached with detailed information on spending budget in current fiscal year and audited financial statement of the previous year;
g) Official requests or complaints mechanism establishing for the public in connection with action or omission of public institutions, together with summary of the requested complaint or other direct actions of members or response of public institutions.
All public institutions shall facilitate access and shall be open in providing all kindsof information to the public upon requestwithout any discrimination , comprehensible formalities and within established timeframes, and reasonable fees, excepting the confidential information under prohibited provisions.Comments
Public institutions shall perform the following obligations:
a) To create an information office within each institution, both at national and sub-national level, by providing financial supports, materials and proper means to officials in charge of information, in order tofacilitate the provision of information to the public with effectiveness.
b) Each information office shall be leaded by a vice-president of institution, who has expertise and experiences in the field of information under responsibility of the institution, and by subordinate official in charge of information as deemed necessary.
c) The appointment of officials in charge of information shall be determined by the decision of public institutions.
d) To train officials in charge of information to gain more expertise and capacity in relationto theright to access to information, so that this law shall be implemented effectively.
e) To encourage specialized units under theinstitution itself to cooperateand take responsibility for the search of information for providing to the public,uponrequestof the chief of information office.
Officer in charge of information shall have the following duties:
a) To be a spokesmanof the institution,for which s/he is currently working, in response to the public;
b) To be responsible before the head of institution for the proper provision of all piece of information to the public;
c) To be a focalcoordinator in his/her institution and in communication with the public for receiving request for information from the public;
d) To closely cooperate with all specialized unitsof his/her institution in searching for, collecting and compiling documents, and assisting in searches of recordsupon request ofapplicant;
e) To assist all persons who seek for information, including provide support for preparingapplication forms for requesting for information and other procedures set out by this law;
f) To cooperate with other relevant specialized unitsof his/her institution in classifying information which falls within the scope of the confidential information or recordswhich fall or not within the scope of exemption;
g) To be responsible forpreparing communication plans of information and public dissemination of the implementation, responsibilities, duties, and achievementsof public institutions.
All personswhether natural persons or legal persons shall be entitled to request all kinds of information from public institutions without any discrimination.Comments
A requestfor information shall be made in writing with its detailed descriptions about the requested information and its forms to be addressed to public institutions.
Procedures and formalities for requesting information shall be determined as follows:
1. Formalities for requesting for information:
- Name, sex, age, nationality, occupation;
- Current address andelectronic address(if any);
- List of detailed information to be requested.
2. Applicant who has no ability to fill out application forms by him/herself due to illiteracy or disability may make a requestfor information orally. Officials in charge of informationwho received such a request shallgratuitouslyassist in writing information upon request accordingly and note his/her name in a certified copy andapplicant’sreceipt.
3. Applicant may submit a written request for information directly or via its authorized representative to officials of public institution or officials in charge of information, or may send it by post or by email to public institutions possessingthat information.
4. Officials of public institutions or officialsin charge of information who received a request for information shall duly register and issue receipts to the applicant;
5. Applicantshall take receipts from the officialsof public institution or officials in charge of information rightafter filing application forms. Forthosemaking requests for information by post or by email,receipts shall be issued based on the type of means of the request.
6. Officials of public institution whoreceived a request for information shall forward such a request to officials in charge of informationwithin 24 (twenty four) hours of working days.
7. In the event that a request for information is wrongly addressed to competent institutions possessing information, officials in charge of information shall return such a request to the applicant as soon as possible and shall give more information as much as possible about the public institutions holding the requested information.
Public institutions shall provide preciseinformation with itsnature and form as requested by applicant, including but not limited to:
1. A true copy ofdocumented information from original documents;
2. A copy ofdocumented information can bein writing, audio, picture, video, disk, or other forms;
3. Records in form of code numbers, acronyms, braille or other symbols;
4. In case a request for information is made in multi-languages, public institutions may provide information in Khmer or in language as its original format to applicant.
Officials in charge of information shall promptly examine a requests for information and give a written response to its applicant by notifying if there is or no such requested information or if it’s the confidential information, which is prohibited by law from revealing publicly. The response shall be given no later than 5 (five) working days, commencing from the date of receiving the request.
A positiveresponseshall be indicated therein thepublic service fees applicablefor receiving the information.
Public institutions shall provide information to applicant as follows:
1. To provide information to the applicant within15 (fifteen) working days, starting from the date of receivingan official response from the applicant, mentioning his/her agreement on service fees, as specified in Article 13 of this Law;
2. In the event that the provision of information cannot be done within the duration as described inthe above item 1, public institutions may continue such delay for a period of no longer than 40 (forty) working days, by giving the reasons in writing of such delay back to the applicant.
Public institutions may deny providing information to applicant based on the following conditions:
1. Requested information is under prohibited as specified in Article 20 of this law;
2. Requester failing to fully fill in the application forms as stated in article 11 of this law;
3. Applicant intends to obstruct the operation of the public institutions.
4. Requested information has recently been provided by public institutions to applicant within a period of 90 days;
5. Affecting the quality or the maintenance of the recorded information held by public institutions.
Applicantwho truly wishesto obtain information and eventually is rejected by public institutions with clear reasoning as stated in articles 11 and 15 of this law may re-apply by selectingonly crucial and indispensable information in order to enable officials in charge of information to perform his/her duties easily according with the timeframe as prescribed in article 14 of this law.
If public institutions fail to provide information within 40 (forty) dayswithout givingproperreasons, applicant may appeal to competent institutions, as stated in article 22 of this law.
The officer in charge of information shall examine the application for information that falls under the scope of exceptions and shall classify the categories of information which fall under prohibitive provisions and those which do not.
The officer in charge of information shall decide to provide information to the applicant as follows:
1. Information already disseminated publicly as specified in Article 2 of Chapter 2 of this law or copy of the part thereof, which is not confidential information;
2. Notifying to the applicant about the fact of cutting out information deemed as confidential information by providing reasons of doing so and other reasons related to prohibitive provisions;
3. Information related to duties and responsibilities of political officers of the public institutions and civil servants of public administration;
4. Information related to trade thatthe right holder has declaimed or agreed to grant to public institutions for public use purposes.
Officials in charge of information of all public institutions shall not evade obligations to provide information to the public on the pretext of such information falls within the scope of exceptions as specified in article 6 of chapter 2 and article 17 of chapter 3 of this law.
In casethe requested information falls into the scope of exceptions, the article 17 shall be applicable.
Public institutions shall provide information to the public by fixing reasonable fees as follows:
1. Free of charge services for preparing application forms of requesting for information;
2. The service fees for providing the copy of records - in writing, audio, picture, video, disk, or other forms - shall be fixed by the Inter-ministerial Prakas of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and other relevant institutions.
Public institutions may refuse to provide information to the public if disclosure of the information would cause damage to national security and defense matters, international relations, national economy and finance, would constitute a violation of privacy of an individual or obstruct law enforcement officials in the course of their duty, namely as follows:
1. Information harmful to the national security and defense matters:
a. National strategic plans pertainingto the national security and defense matters, plans to safeguard the territory against foreign threats, the importation, production, storage and use all kinds of weapons systems;
b. Information concerning strategy, intelligence, operation, tactic and technique related to the operation of national defense.
c. Figures, deploymentof strength and national defense capacity, implementationof national defense systems, weapons development plans and military equipment for national defense;
d. Images data and maps relating to military base and/or military installation situation and condition, weapons production or storage locations, and military scienceresearch buildings;
e. Estimation data of foreign countries military or their defense capacity of such countries that can endanger the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia;
f. Data related to military cooperation with other countries that has been agreed as state secret;
g. State encoding system and/or state intelligence system.
2. Information causing damage to foreign or international relations:
a. Secret position, bargaining power, and strategy that will be and has been taken by the state in relation with foreign countries or the international community;
b. Secret diplomatic communication or correspondence with foreign countries or the international community;
c. All communication and encoding systems used for connecting with foreign countries or the international community;
d. Protection and security of Cambodian military base and strategic infrastructure overseas.
3. Information causing harm to the national economy and finance:
a. Preliminaryplans of sale or purchase of national or foreign currency, shares and vital assets of the state;
b. Preliminary plans of exchange rate adjustments of foreign currency, government loans, tax reform, tariff, or state revenues;
c. Preliminary plans of sales or purchases of state property or foreign investment plans;
d. Secret statements, facts, letters, figures, or contents of accounting or administrative documents as set forth in the law on Banking and Financial Institutions.
4. Information prejudicing the functioning of the criminal justice system, limited to when applicable:
a. Obstructing law enforcement officials in investigating a criminal offenseas defined in the criminal code ;
b. Revealing the identity of protected informants, witnesses, and/or victims having knowledge of a criminal act;
c. Damaging equipment, facilities, and/or infrastructures of law enforcement agencies;
d. Endangering the security and/or lives of law enforcement officials or their families;
e. Prejudicing criminal investigations related to the prevention of transnational crimes.
5. Information constituting a violation of privacy of a private person:
a. Medical history and psycho-physical therapy of a private person;
b. Information patterning to evaluation in relation to capacity, intelligence, educational or psychological records of a private person
c. Statutory and testamentary successions;
d. Information revealing the identity or name of either party in a civil case in relation to fatherhood, motherhood, marriage, divorce or parental authority;
e. Information revealing the identity of minor in a civil case or accident, and other criminal cases.
f. Information revealing the identity of victim in rape case.
g. Information about financial situation, property, income, and bank accounts of a private personunless otherwise stipulated by laws;
h. Information concerning secrecy in intellectual property and trade secret.
To ensure the protection of national sovereignty, defense of national security, and protection of everyone’s right to life in conformity with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, public institutions shall provide accessible confidential information to the public after the following time frames:
1- 7 (seven) days to 1 (one) year from the date of issuance, for documents related to secret internal meetings of public institutions, secret appointments, and other secret examinations.
2- 25 (Twenty five) years from the date of issuance or the date on which a matter has been settled, for documents related to national defense and security matters, diplomatic relations, public orders, economy, technology, civil status books, notarial letters, and court cases.
3- 75 (seventy five) years from the date of issuance, for documents related to personal privacy, everyone’s medical documents and a person’s court cases. With the exception of cases related to crime of genocide, crime against humanity, or war crime, public institutions shall make the information available to the public when the court of law completely closes the case.
With respect to confidential information, official in charge of information shall perform the following:
- Register the official confidential information;
- Take out any expired confidential information from the confidential information list;
- Remove any information from the confidential information list with consent of its right holder.
Mechanisms and procedures for defining, classifying, registering confidential information, and deleting the information from confidential information list as set forth in Article 20, 21 of this Law shall be provided by a sub-decree.
To protect and serve the public interests and promote the public’s right to information in accordance with legal principles, a public institution may decide to reduce or delay the timeframe on confidential information either in part or in whole as prescribed in article 21 of this law and make it available to the public.
In the case of the timeframe for protection confidential documents is over as set forth in article 21 of this law, a public institution may delay such a timeframe on the grounds that national security, public interests, and private interests protected by law are still being affected, but not exceed one-half of the total period of time as laid down in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of article 21 of this law.
All person shall not be criminally, civilly and disciplinarily responsible for the denunciation of a felony or a misdemeanor they had known and/or during the performance of their function or duty made before the judicial authority or other competent authoritiesComments
Officials in charge of information shall not be criminally, civilly and disciplinarily responsible for the decision of providing information to the public made within their cope of work and position as officials in charge of information. This principle is not applicable in case where officials in charge of information fulfill their duties with bad faith, which is contrary to their competence and position granted by laws.
Applicant shall have the right to appeal to the head of public institution where the request for information was addressed to if the requested for information is not provided in accordance with article 14 or was rejected by public institution without any proper reasons as stated in articles 15 and 17 of this law.
Public institutions must respond to complaints within 15 (fifteen) business days from the date of receipt of the complaint.
In the event that the applicant does not satisfy with the head of the concerned public institution’s decisions, he/she may reject such decisions by appeal to the capital or provincial courts of first instance and continue to lodge an appeal against decisions of the capital or provincial courts of first instance in accordance legal proceedings.
In the event that the lower courts or the higher courts order public institutions to provide information upon request, procedures for providing of information shall be implemented in accordance with articles 13 and 14 of this law.
Officials of public institution or officials in charge of information failing to fulfill their obligations as described in the provision of article 9, article 11, article 12, article 13, article 14, article 17, article 18 and article 23of this law shall be liablefor disciplinary sanctions without prejudice to criminal punishments.
Whoever causes disruption, prevents or uses any means to obstruct the operation of officials of public institution or officials in charge of information in performing their duties as stated in article 15 of this law shall be liable to an imprisonment from 7 (seven) days to 1 (one) month and to a fine from 10,000 (ten thousand) Riels to 100,000 (one hundred thousands) Riels.
In case there is an act of violence committed against officials of public institution or officials in charge of information performing their duties as stipulated in the paragraph 1 of article 26 of this law shall be punishable by the provision of article 506 (Obstruction against the implementation of public works) of the Criminal Code.
A direct inciting leading to cause disruption, prevent or use any means to obstruct the operation of officials of public institution or officials in charge of information in performing their duties as described in article 15 of this law shall be punishable by the provision of article 505 (Inciting to commit Rebellions ) of the criminal code.(Can be delete)
Whoever makes a lying denunciation to any public institutions or judicial authorities about anoffense, causing the investigation to become useless, shall be liable to an imprisonment form 1 (one) month to 6 (six) months and to a fine from 100,000 (one hundred thousands) Riels to 1,000,000 (one million) Riels.
In case there is the provision of false information to civil authority or Khmer army possibly leading to damage the national defense in favor of foreign State’s interests shall be punishable by the provision of article 448 (Provision of false information) of the Criminal Code.(Can be delete)
Whoever is obliged to provide or hold information of the public institution agrees to disclose confidential informationto any incompetent persons in exchange for donation, gift, promise or any other interests, shall be punishable by the provision of article 32 (Corruption offenses) of the Law on Anti-Corruption.
Whoever is obliged to provide or hold confidential information, due to his/her own personal situation, career, occupation or mission, discloses or reveals the confidential information to any incompetent persons to be known about secrets of the public institution shall be liable to an imprisonment from 2 (two) years to 5 (five) years and to a fine from 4,000,000 (four millions) Riels to 10,000,000 (ten millions) Riels and shall be subject to be punishable by additional penalties as described in article 483 (Additional Penalties ) of the criminal code.
In the case that the confidential information is leaked byunintentional mistake or disobedience to internal rules shall be liable to an imprisonment from 6 (six) months to 2 (two) years and to a fine from 1,000,000 (one million) Riels to 4,000,000 (four millions) Riels.
Whoever is obliged to provide or hold information provides or facilitates access to confidential information from any foreign States or international agencies, causing damage to the national security and economy shall be liable to an imprisonment from 7 (seven) years to 15 (fifteen) years and to a fine from 10,000,000 (ten millions) to 20,000,000 (twenty millions) Riels and shall be subject to be punishable by additional penalties as described in the article 450 (Additional penalties) of the Criminal Code.
Whoever has no competent to hold information or whoever has been performing his/her duties in holding the public institution’s information intentionally keep or possess confidential information for personal purposes shall be liable to an imprisonment from 2 (two) years to 5 (five) years and to a fine from 4,000,000 (four millions) to 10,000,000 (ten millions) Riels.
Whoever is obliged to hold public information causes damage or destroys such information shall be liable to an imprisonment from 2 (two) years to 5 (five) and to a fine from 4,000,000 (four millions) to 10,000,000 (ten millions) Riels, and shall be subject to be punishable by additional penalties as stated in the Article 483 (Additional Penalties) of the Criminal Code.
In case that the damage of such information is unintentionally caused during the performance of duties shall be liable to an imprisonment from 6 (six) months to 1 (one) year and to a fine from 1,000,000 (one million) to 2,000,000 (two millions) Riels.
The Press Law promulgated by Royal Krom No. NS/RKM/0895/07 on September 1st, 1995, and the provision of other related laws, as well as other texts supporting the implementation of this law shall remain applicable until the replacement of new provisions.
Officials in charge of information of municipal and provincial administration instituted by Joint Prakas No. 3527 PrK 443 PM.PrK dated 26 July 2012 of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Information shall continuously perform their duties until replacing by a new office in charge of information created under the spirit of this law.
This law shall prevail in case of the provision of other laws contradict all provisions of this law.
Any provisions that contradict this shall be deemed as null and void.