On February 12th 2015, Thursday at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) delivered presentation of the report “Access to Public Information in Georgia 2014” and named the most transparent and closed public institutions revealed within the framework of the project. Representatives of Public Institutions, Media and Civil Society Organizations attended the event.
The project "Public Information Database - www.OpenData.ge" was launched in 2010 and is implemented with the financial support of Open Society Georgia Foundation. Giorgi Kldiashvili, Director of IDFI, Levan Avalishvili-Chairman of IDFI and Vakhtang Natsvlishvili, representative of OSGF summarized the last year regarding the accessibility to public information in Georgia.
Giorgi Kldiashvili covered the issues of the main trends and challenges on improving the practice of access to public information. The topic of the presentation given by Levan Avalishvili was access to public information in Georgia, whereas Vakhtan Natsvlishvili spoke about legislative amendments aiming at improving access to information.
Within the framework of the project a total of 5 4 66 FOI requests were sent to 308 public institutions. Statistical information on received responses is as follows:
o Complete responses - 3 628 (66,4%)
o Incomplete Responses -356 (6,5%)
o Refusal -85 (1,5%)
o Unanswered responses -1 397 (25,6%)
The Chairman of IDFI - Levan Avalishvili stated that 65% of the total refusals were received from LLCs and N(N)LEs. He also emphasized that in order to address the issue it is crucial to make amendments to the existing legislation.
Publicizing information on e-mail correspondence, data on Minister advisors as well as legal acts on proactive disclosure proved to be mostly problematic during the current reporting period. In contrast, during the previous year public entities were mostly reluctant to disclose information on salary supplements and bonuses. In this regards noticeable improvement was observed during the year of 2014.
During the presentation Director of IDFI-Giorgi Kldiashvili stated that after 2012 Parliamentary Elections the rate of complete responses has decreased from 81% to 66%. Moreover the number of unanswered requests has increased from 11% to 26%. The existing rate equals the results observed before 2012 Parliamentary Elections. Moreover, he welcomed the fact that National Security Council and Georgian Intelligence Service scored the transparency rate of 100%.
The most transparent and the most closed public institutions were named by IDFI.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia was granted a certificate of the Most Closed Public Institution. The ministry has the lowest rate of access to public information among the other central state institutions.
The Administration of the Government of Georgia was awarded the Certificate for Improving Access to Public Information. The entity succeeded to improve the rate of access to information to the highest degree among other central public institutions. In comparison with the results of 2012-2013 (75%) the Administration of the Government of Georgia has improved the rate of access to public information by 23% and reached to 98%.
The Department of Corrections was named as the most closed public institution during the year of 2014;
The following public institutions were granted special awards (certificates) for "Ensuring Access to Public Information":
• Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia
• Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia
• Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs
• Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Adjara A/R.
In addition, Certificates for Ensuring Access to Public Information were given to all public institutions which showed 100% rate (38 public institutions). Civil Service Bureau, Penitentiary and Probation Training Centre, Civil Aviation Agency, Public Defender, the Unified National Body of Accreditation - Accreditation Center, State Hydrographic Service and Agency of Standards and Metrology should be particularly highlighted here.
The Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Ministry of Energy of Georgia were granted the certificates for the Best Practice of Proactive Disclosure of Public Information.
The most closed public institutions were announced by categories:
• Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia
• LEPL Healthcare Service of MIA
• LEPL MIA Service Agency
• Tsalka Municipal Board
• Khobi Municipal Board
• Tetritskaro Municipal Council
• Marneuli Municipal Council
• Martvili Municipal Council
• Kobuleti Municipal Council
• Shuakhevi Municipal Council
• Bolnisi Municipal Council
The report Access to Public Information in Georgia 2014 is based on the practice of FOI requests sent by IDFI. The comprehensive analysis of specific examples shows existing state of access to public information and gives reader comprehensive image of access to information in Georgia.
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