During 2012 IDFI (Institute for Development of Freedom of Information) expanded its think tank activities and included following fields: Access to public information, e-transparency, e-participation, proactive disclosure, freedom of information and international practice;
IDFI conducted several think tank activities related to access of information: Statistical Research of Requesting Public Information aimed to improve the quality of transparency and effective governance of public institutions, share international practice and discover some shortcomings of the field; In the framework of research “The Best Practice of Accessing Public Information” IDFI analysts investigated content and form of published information on the official websites of Public Institutions; The research of best practice emphasized one of the most important trends, government bodies proactively publish information on their websites in order to make their activities transparent for their society.
For getting familiar to the importance of access to information, it is worthy to read the paper by Levan Avalishvili “Freedom of Information in Georgia”; Author talks about the importance of freedom of information and highlights that, despite the general shortcomings and problems, Legislation is better in comparison with the previous years and the report published by the Centre for Law and Democracy prove this fact.
As for E-transparency, research “E-transparency of Georgian Legislative System” showed that vas majority of websites of Georgian legislative bodies are less informative for users and do not suit to the technical web standards; In order to solve the existed problems and improve informational and technical system of the websites, they conducted consultations with legal experts, took comparative analysis of the best practices at foreign countries and established the common standard for proactive disclosure.
Research “Proactive Disclosure in Georgia” discusses the issues of proactive disclosure and notes that releasing public information is problematic because of administrative shortcomings and restricted financial resources. Moreover it is important to create adequate legislative base, because norms which regulate e-transparency are less connected and standardized;
In July 2012 Institute for Development of Freedom of Information launched the project “Development of E-participation in Georgia”. In the framework of the project IDFI analysts have been monitoring official websites and social network pages of government institutions. They prepared results of monitoring and examined how effective is the communication between citizens and governments, political parties and mass media on these websites and pages; This research will be finished in May, 2013;
It is worthy to note that throughout 2012 IDFI analysts prepared two guidebooks in the framework of different organizational projects: Freedom of Information (Guidebook) and “Right to Know” (Practical Reading Material);
The guidebook is based on the examples of requesting public information and aims to give theoretical knowledge and legal understanding of the topics related to access of information. This guidebook will be interesting and useful not only for those specialists, who are working in this field, but also for broad audience;
Practical Reading Material was prepared in the framework of the project “Right to Know”. It gives short and clear explanation of the terms related of public information and is prepared for the people who is interested to get more information about freedom to information and understand the terms;
As it was mentioned before, Think tank activities in 2012 aimed to analyze Georgia’s situation and learn the best international practice related to e-governance and access to information.
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