Controversy over bill allowing destruction of committee meeting recordings
Parliament has recently been deliberating revisions to its rules of order and home rules, and the topic of recordings of closed committee meetings has emerged as a flashpoint.
Some media figures, like Äripäev editor Igor Rõtovm, have come out in favor of retention, saying it was a disservice to the public interest to allow recordings to be destroyed.
Last week, chairman of the Constitutional Committee, Rait Maruste (ruling Reform Party) was caught in what seemed to some to be a half-truth, when he said that the National Archives considered recordings inessential. The archives responded that it had been unable to arrive at any conclusion.
Committee meetings are closed and audio recordings of the proceedings are not always made. As such, the archive said, it does not have a set procedure on how to handle audio recordings of such sessions.
The Constitutional Committee met yesterday to discuss the matter, opening its doors to the media in a rare move.
IRL committee members Juhan Parts and Urmas Reinsalu made a motion to kill the bill before it went into a third and final reading, but five committee members voted against the motion and the bill survived.
A Reforn Party MP, Rein Lang, proposed to make it more clear in the bill that Parliament should retain committee audio recordings until the end of Parliament's term, at which point the National Archives would decide on retention, and the Social Democrats agreed. But opposition MPs objected to this, because it would have required a change to the content of the bill.