IDFI Held the Concluding Event of the Project and the Presentation of the Report "Media Access to Public Information: Legislation v. Reality"

News | Article | | MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION 4 November 2022

On November 4, 2022, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) held the concluding event of the project and the report "Media Access to Public Information: Legislation v. Reality" presentation, as well as a discussion on practical problems of access to public information.

 

The event was opened with a welcome speech by IDFI’s Programs Director Levan Avalishvili. Giorgi Davituri, Media and Freedom of Expression Direction Head at IDFI, presented the report prepared within the framework of the project.The reportreviews quantitative and qualitative statistical data of the legal assistance provided by the project team, the practical and normative problems identified during the project that hinder effective access to public information by journalists, as well as effectiveness of the mechanisms for protecting the right to access to public information.

 

Within the framework of the project, it became clear that violations of clear requirements of the legislation by public institutions, as well as the indifferent attitude towards public information requirements, are the main obstacles to access to information with the state.

 

The lack of effective control mechanisms is the main reason for the indifference, and in some cases, the lack of accountability of public institutions. The above runs in tandem with the challenges identified in terms of access to public information.

 

The second part of the event was devoted to the discussion " Access of Media to public information: practical problems and their negative outcomes”, moderated by Khatia Jinjikhadze, Open Society Georgia Foundation’s (OSGF) Media Program Manager and Deputy Director. During the discussion, Tamar Rukhadze, Head of The Board the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethic and Nino Zuriashvili, a journalist of Studio Monitor, spoke about the obstacles to receiving public information and the negative effects of limiting the access to information.

 

Outcomes of the Project:

 

During 2022, on the issues of freedom of information IDFI prepared approximately 172 applications addressing 125 different public institutions, 37 administrative complaints and 18 administrative lawsuits. About 45 verbal legal consultations were given. More than 40 journalists/media representatives benefited from legal assistance

 

In approximately 36% of the cases, media representatives were able to obtain public information without filing an administrative complaint/lawsuit. It should be emphasized that even when the request was granted, the information was issued in violation of the terms stipulated by the law. In 63 cases, journalists were able to fully or partially obtain public information from various public institutions.

 

IDFI Considers that:

 

1. An effective external control mechanism (Commissioner of Freedom of Information) should be created in Georgia.

 

2. The terms of consideration of lawsuits filed in court on issues of freedom of information should be reduced and the procedural mechanisms for consideration of such lawsuits should be improved.

 

 3. The Parliament of Georgia should use the oversight mechanisms provided for in the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament against the institutions that blatantly and likely intentionally violate the requirements of the legislation regulating freedom of information.

 

The study was prepared with the support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF). The presentation was supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.

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