September 28th is the International Right to Know Day, which unites all those for whom the freedom of information and its availability is important.
The International Right to Know Day was established in 2002 to celebrate the creation of the network of organizations working in the field of freedom of information (The Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet)). This day is celebrated by civil society organizations in about forty countries.
Freedom of information is one of the basic human rights in Georgia and is regulated by the Georgian constitution, article 24 of which states: “Every human being has a right to freely access and spread information”, and the first section of article 41 states: “Every citizen of Georgia has a right to access information stored in the state institutions concerning him, as well official documents if they do not contain state, private or commercial secret, according to the rules determined by the law”. We think that the above is a prerequisite to informational self-determination and the protection of the right of free personal development.
At the same time, with regards to September 28th, the Institute responds to the recent lack of transparency and the neglect of accountability in Georgia and notes that, despite legislative guarantees, the right of the citizens to access public information often meets artificial barriers.
For example, in the framework of the “Public Information Database” project the Institute still has not received replies to the following requests sent to public institutions in July 2012:
Administration of the President
Office of the Government
Ministry of Finance
Municipal Boards of Akhmeta and Akhaltsikhe
Municipal Boards of Gardabani and Marneuli
Municipal Boards of Kharagauli
It should be noted that the Ministry of Education and Science provided us with the requested information only after an administrative complaint was filed. According to the reply, the information about the detailed estimate of one million (1 000 000) GEL allocated for “other expenses” from the state budget in the first quarter of 2012 is not available in the ministry. The above reply unfortunately indicates a systematic approach to the neglect of public accountability.
With the regard of the International Right to Know Day the “Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information” urges the government of Georgia to improve the approach of a number of public institutions to the field of transparency and availability of information and provide a right to access public information guaranteed by the legislature.
See the attachment for the reply sent by the Ministry of Education and Science in response to the request by the “Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information” (Detailed estimate of 1 000 00 (one million) GEL allocated for “other expenses” in the first quarter of 2012 for the development of the state policy on the fields of education and science).
Training for Data Journalists15.10.2021
Refusal of EU Assistance is an Open Declaration of Georgia's Deviation from the Euro-Atlantic Course31.08.2021