Vietnam recently adopted a Law on Access to Information, which gives citizens the right to request and receive information from public bodies (known internationally as right to information or RTI laws). This follows a long period of discussion and debate about adopting such a law. According to the RTI Rating, a globally recognised methodology for assessing the strength of such laws, the Law earns 68 points out of a possible total of 150, putting it in 86th place globally from among 112 countries, well into the bottom one-third.

We are happy to welcome Vietnam into the group of countries with right to information laws”, said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD). “This is a good start and hopefully local people will start using the Law, which can then grow and be developed.

Although the Law is weak, some improvements were made over the August, 2015 version, which was assessed at the time by the CLD. The August version of the draft Law only earned 59 points on the RTI Rating. Experience in other countries suggests that what is important at this point is for people to start using the Law and testing its boundaries. It can then grow in strength over time.

CLD urges local organisations and individuals, to make requests under the Law when it comes into effect (July, 2018), and to see what information they can obtain. In due course, we call on the Vietnamese authorities to review the Law with a view to introducing amendments to strengthen it.

For further information, please contact:

Toby Mendel
Executive Director
Centre for Law and Democracy
Email: toby@law-democracy.org
+1 902 431-3688
www.law-democracy.org
twitter: @law_democracy

Scoring of Vietnam’s Law on access to information: RTI rating

SectionMax PointsScore for Draft of Law on Access to information (8/2015)Final Score for official Law on Access to information
(4/2016)
1. Right of Access623
2. Scope301616
3. Requesting Procedures301216
4. Exceptions and Refusals301014
5. Appeals3089
6. Sanctions and Protections822
7. Promotional measures1698
Total150 5968