International Survey of Information Commissioners

News | Research | Economics and Social Policy | Good Governance | Publications 3 December 2014

Center for Freedom of Information is the research institute jointly established by the Scottish information Commissioner and the University of Dundee. The center is devoted to describing and analyzing the practices of FOI regulation systems as well as is focused on implementation, interpretation and enforcement of laws which provide rights to information. The executive director of the Center, former Scottish information Commissioner Kevin Dunion, who was invited by Open Society Georgia, followed by the recommendations of IDFI was actively involved in drafting the new law of Freedom of Information in Georgia. The survey presented below concerns the significant issue such as an analyzing the international experience of Freedom of Information Commissioners that grabbed our attention, due to the fact that establishment of Commissioner institution in compliance to the new law is planned to put in force in Georgia.

 

Some of the key findings, from the survey responses provided by 53 Commissioners/ Ombudsman in 33 countries, are:

 

How well do authorities comply with Commissioners decisions?

 

85% of Commissioners, who can order disclosure or otherwise require compliance with their decisions, say that authorities always comply or compliance occurs in a significant majority of cases. By contrast, none of the Commissioners who can only make recommendations reported that their decisions were always complied with, and only 45% said that compliance occurs in a significant majority of cases.

 

Are requests using social media valid?

 

have widely varying views as to whether requests made using social media can ever be regarded as valid. 35% felt that generally such requests would be valid; 30% said they could never be valid. Many Commissioners had not yet had to deal with an appeals regarding refusal of such a request, which perhaps explains why 25% said they did not know if they were valid or not.

 

Should some private bodies/NGOs be made subject to access to information laws?

 

Nearly two thirds (63%) of Commissioners said there were private bodies/NGOs carrying out public functions or receiving public funds in their country, which should be made subject to the access to information law. The report details some of those bodies specifically identified in Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the UK. Often they are bodies providing education, energy, or health care.

 

Summary

 

It is substantial to examine research key findings when the new law of Freedom of Information is on the edge of adoption,  along with preparation for establishment of Freedom of Information Commissioner institute in Georgia. Taking into the consideration the presented recommendations and expressed concerns regarding various aspects of FOI, it is essential to foresee all those research findings for further and optimal implementation of law as well as for establishing Commisioner institution, in order to avoid all possible gaps.

 

 

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