The Ministerial Decree of 16 May therefore approved the decree which introduces, citing the press release “a new form of civic access to public data and documents equivalent to what in the Anglo-Saxon system is defined as the Freedom of information act (FOIA), which allows citizens to also request data and documents that public administrations are not obliged to publish“.
The text is not yet available, but from what is stated in the press release it seems that the commitments made by Minister Madia also in the meeting we had on 29 April as a delegation of #Foia4Italy, with the acceptance of the "essential points” presented during the hearing in the Chamber.
Specifically, we read in the press release, “the conditions set by the parliamentary commissions in their opinions were accepted and most of the observations made by the Unified Conference, the Council of State and the Guarantor for the protection of personal data were implemented. In particular, on the subject of civic access, the obligation to clearly identify requested data or documents has been eliminated, the foreseen free-of-charge release of data and documents has been clarified, it has been established that the acceptance or refusal of access must take place with an express and motivated provision, it has been provided that access is refused when it is necessary to avoid a concrete prejudice to the protection of one of the public or private interests indicated“.
Waiting for the text, and hoping not to have negative surprises, these are profound revisions with respect to the preliminary version of the decree which would not have been possible, in this form, without the mobilization of the over 30 associations of #Foia4Italy and the over 88 thousand people who signed the petition for a true FOIA. An undoubted result of the effectiveness of participation and organization from the bottom up, which also wants to be an example for the future.
Furthermore, the most delicate phase of implementation is starting now, and on this we expect it to materialize as much as the Minister Madia assured us in the meeting of 29 April, and that therefore as civil society associations we will be involved
- in all stages of implementation of the decree, starting from the guidelines entrusted to ANAC, also bringing the government's attention back to the issue of digital skills;
- in the establishment of the observatory on access to information (which should be foreseen in the decree) which should include representatives of the administrations and civil society in order to monitor the effective application of the new legislation and propose any corrective measures;
- starting from the experience of this decree, and therefore also from the lessons learned on this first part of the process, for the launch of an activity of definition of a participatory process which is valid from now on for the FOIA but which is a reference for the legislative decrees of the PA reform, including the new CAD.
But, first, let's wait to carefully evaluate the text of the decree. Let's hope the wait is short and doesn't reserve any surprises.