Public Discussion on “Freedom of Information & Citizens Participation”, held in Kutaisi

News | Good Governance | Publications | Article 2 August 2013

 

On 27 July 2013, local non-governmental organizations, mass-media representatives and active citizens tool part in the public discussion, held at the USAID Kutaisi Center for Civic Engagement.  
 
Open discussions are planned in the framework of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and the  USAID, G-3 Program consortium project “Improving of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Increasing Public Awareness on FOIA”.  The project aims at promoting establishment of effective access of public information mechanisms, cooperation of civil society and the government on improvement the public information requests and procedures and increasing broadly public awareness on the forms and regulations on FOIA. 
 
Giorgi Kldiashvili, IDFI Director, led the public discussion. In the first half of the discussion, the information about the access of public information in Georgia, practices of requests and discrepancies concerning the public disclosure shared.   He introduced the new the GoG regulations related to the public information disclosure, processes on the revision of the “Open Government Partnership”, Action Plan.  
 
The second half of the day, Dr Thomas Hart, USAID expert on FOIA, held the presentation about the international experiences, best practices on the public information disclosure and role of civil society under the “Open Government Partnership” initiative. 
 
In the end of the discussions, participants stressed the significance of citizens’ engagement in the decision-making process and freedom of information. The question asked about the considering of the legislative amendments, which on one hand will improve the government transparency of every level of governance and on the other hand increase level of accountability towards the society. The role of media, joint efforts of civil society sector to increase public awareness were stressed as most challenging issue in the regions. At the same time, the participants have agreed that public servants are in need to be prepared and guarantees to be established. 
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