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Make a PSI request for re-use in the Czech Republic

A new chapter of our series of articles on how to make a request in the EU member states: the situation in the Czech Republic.

Legal framework

At a first look the legislative framework in this country is pretty straightforward.

The right to information was constitutionally guaranteed in the Constitutional Act of 9 January 1991 and the Act on free access to information was published on 1999 (Act no 106/1999).

The Czech FOIA  was then amended twice.

First in 2006 with the Act of 3 February 2006 amended Act no 106/1999: among the amendments, it included the transposition of Directive 2003/98/EC on article 1.

Afterwards in 2015 with the Act 222 of 12 August 2015 amended Act no 106/1999 and transposing Directive 2013/37/EU.

Reading the text of the above mentioned Acts, the  degree of transposition of the PSI Directive seems not fully comprehensive.

 In particular as regards of the re-use of public sector information, they do not say anything. In other words, there is no reference to the right of re-use of information and thus the conditions for the re-use are left to uncertainty or, better, not formalised. The only reference which might be in relation with the conditions for re-use is in section 14a(4) of Act 222 of 12 August 2015:

[…]An obliged entity may provide an exclusive licence only if the exclusive licence is necessary for the further dissemination of information and such a step is in the public interest.[…]

Another aspect to be considered, is the fact that the legislation cites “obliged entities” and other “public institutions” as entities which have to provide free access to information without giving a precise definition for them. The result is that the Czech Constitutional Court is often asked to decide whether or not a certain entity is subject to the obligations of the legislation.

In practice

Despite of this lack implementing legislation, or maybe because of this, in the last years some NGOs have provided guides to help citizens and companies in preparing and submitting information requests. In particular, Otevrě ná spolecň ost, o.p.s. (the “Open Society Non-Governmental Organization”) provides a website, Informace pro všechny, that allows to submit the requests (similar to the well known whatdotheyknow.com that we have already described here) and to browse the requests submitted.

The steps to submit a request are common to other online platforms already described in our older articles.

First, you have to click on the “make a request” (“VCNESTE DOTAZ”) menu item, then you are requested to login or register if you do not have an account. After that, you are invited to choose the public sector body to whom you want to address your request and then you are presented with a form to insert the object (“Předmět”) and the description “Váš dotaz” of the request.

 

As we usually suggest, it is better to describe how you intend re-use the information (although it is not requested by the implementing legislation).

Naturally, if you want that your request appear also in the repository of PSI Monitor, just add the tag #psimonitor at the end of the description; otherwise you will have to add it manually.

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A transparent and publicly accessible database of requests for the re-use of public sector information (PSI).

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