IDFI's public access decisions

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 14:40

The results of IDFI's assesment on public access to decisions within the system of General Courts show that access to court decisions in Georgia is characterized by the following problems of systemic nature:
1. Legislation gives significant priority to personal data protection over disclosure of public information.
2.  Legislation does not take into account any possible public interest in relation to specific court cases;
3. Decisions made during open court hearings are not being disclosed, even though any interested person may attend court proceedings (except special cases);
4. Courts do not disclose decisions made on cases of former high-ranking officials;
5. Courts employ a broad interpretation of the depersonalization obligation, which makes disclosure of court decisions virtually impossible;
6. Courts extend the right to personal data protection to legal entities;
7. Common Courts, most likely, have pre-agreed refusal templates that they use when receiving requests to disclose court decisions." - Nino Merebashvili, IDFI Senior Lawyer.

Award for public access to information

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 17:45

"The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information" (IDFI) and the "Open Society Georgia" organized the presentation of the final report about freedom of information in 2016 in the country. The most open and the most closed public institutions have been named on the event. Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia was named as one of the most open public institution for 2016 and was awarded with  a special award.
The award were presented to the sub-structure of the Ministry –"Vano Khukhunaishvili Center for Effective Governance System and Territorial Arrangement Reform”, as well. The certificate of IDFI was presented to all those agencies that showed 100% access to public information.  

There is no Russian propaganda in Georgia-Zviad Dzidziguri

Published in Politics
Thursday, 01 September 2016 15:57

There is no Russian propaganda in Georgia. I don’t wait for any news before elections-this statement was made by the Vice Speaker of Parliament of Georgia Zviad Dzidziguri after publishing IDFI political document “Kremlin Information War against Georgia.”
“The parties have their own opinions on foreign policy but the parties saying that we need good and friendly relations with Russia, speak more frequently now. Because there is pre election period. Nothing more to say,”-Ddzidziguri said. 

The announcement of the Prosecutor’s Office regarding the IDFI report

Published in Justice
Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:30

As a response to the distributed by the NELP «The institute for development of freedom of information» (IDFI) report, which had to do with the work compensation of the Prosecutor’s office supervising persons, with the aim of informing the society, the Georgian Prosecutor’s office would like to elucidate that from 2008 until today the increase in work compensation of the supervising persons of the Prosecutor’s office (General Prosecutor, first deputy and other deputies) has not occurred.  
In relation to the information published in the report’s chapter on “Work compensation” we would like to explain that the work compensation salary fund has not increased due to increase in work compensation of officials (General Prosecutor, first deputy and other deputies, supervisors and heads of the General Prosecutor’s office department and services and person that are equal to the latter, the Abkhazia and Achara Autonomous Republic’s, Tbilisi, District and Regional Prosecutor’s), on the contrary, the increase is caused by the increase of employees, 188 in all, of the Prosecutor’s office, which is portrayed in the corresponding percentage ratio in relation to the tendencies of increase of number of employees, which causes the incorrect interpretation of information in the society, specifically in 2011 the average quantity of the Prosecutor’s office workers was 626, and according to data of 2015 the total number of employees amounts to 814. The increase of number of employees was conditioned and caused by the increase of the work load of the Prosecutor’s office, which was caused together with ongoing cases the numerous complaints from the citizens regarding the officials of the former government and the possibility of them committing crimes and the resonant investigation conducted on the latter facts, also the necessities that rose after the structural reorganization of the Prosecutor’s office, specifically with the aim of achieving the objectives of the Prosecutor’s office in 2015 was established the investigative department for crimes committed during works on specific cases, also according to recommendations of the EU was established a section for investigating corruption cases, also was  established the center of software, security, and program support.    
Here we would also like to elucidate that according to the situation of 2015 in the Georgian Prosecutor’s office were working 814 employees, among them -53 officials, 761 other employees, (prosecutor, investigator, apprentice, specialist, adviser and assistant employee).
According to the Georgian Law “About the conflict of interests in State workplace and corruption”, in the term “Official” are implied the following persons:  Georgian General Prosecutor, his first deputy and other deputies, the heads and supervisors of the General Prosecutor’s office departments and services and persons equal to the latter, Abkhazia and Achara Autonomous Republics, Tbilisi, district and regional prosecutors.
For more clarity we would like to present to you the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office employees, including officials, Work compensation ratio in the period of 2011-2015. 
In the IDFI report’s “work compensation” chapter is elaborated that „from December 31, 2011 until December 31, 2015 the staff employee increase amounted to 27,8% and in 2015 in comparison to 2012 the work compensation expenses have increased by 69,1%. 
Regarding the above mentioned we would like to highlight that starting from 2008 the work compensation of the officials of the Georgian Prosecutor’s office (salary/bonus/additions) did not increase, the increase of the salary fund was caused by the increase of employees and not the increase of the salaries of the officials, and the salary fund as of 2015 amounts to on average 2,469 Lari and in comparison to work compensation of 2011 (1721Lari) has   increased by 43% in other words 748 Lari. Here we would also like to clarify that each and every employee of the Georgian Prosecutor’s office due to the large work load are forced to work during non-working hours systematically, in revision there are hundreds of criminal cases and of course the increase of their work compensation is directly related to their 
work load and work hours, at the same time, the business of each and every prosecutor is related to the increased risk for life, because the prosecutor’s office main function is to fight against crime and the criminal world, at the same time into consideration is taken also the circumstance that based on the specifics of business there is a high risk of spreading of corruption, and our country experienced the latter already in the past. 
Also in relation to critical comments given in the report, which have to do with the transparency of the Prosecutor’s office business and ensuring of information accessibility, we would like to further explain that the Prosecutor’s office almost in everyday mode makes public the information regarding the work done on cases of high resonance and great interest of the society.At the same time, the Georgian General Prosecutor as a result of executed reforms is obligated to present a report to the Prosecutor’s office council once every six months, which includes detailed description of the prosecutor’s office business during this period, for the elected prosecutor’s office council by the General prosecutor in accordance with the legislation was presented the report regarding the conducted work, where is mentioned in full the information regarding the general prosecutor’s business. 

Youth for Open Parliament

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 16:44

Fifteen students received certificates and gifts from the Parliament of Georgia, European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) for taking part in the ideas contest “Open Parliament - Voice of Youth”.

MP Giorgi Kakhiani, Chair of Procedural Issues and Rules Committee;Sophie HuetGuerriche, Project Manager of the EU Delegation to Georgia; Gigi Bregadze, UNDP’s Democratic Governance Team Leader; and Giorgi Kldiashvili,IDFI Director, met with the contestants and winners on 14 December 2015.

In November and December, young people from different universities of Georgia spent several days with the Parliament, attended specialised training and met MPs and staff to learn more about legislative openness and transparency. The students then attempted at inventing creative ways to increase Parliament’s openness and boost civic engagement in the legislative process. Fifteen out offorty participants rose to the task and brought their innovative ideas to the table.

The best ideas will be considered by the Parliament of Georgia in the work of the Inter-Factional Group and Open Parliament Working Group.

The contest for students is part of a larger programme to support parliamentary openness in Georgia, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in partnership with IDFI.

Since 2014, this initiative has assisted the Parliament of Georgia to take major steps forward on the way to legislative openness, including for the adoption of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016.

Last September, the Parliament of Georgia hosted a Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW) and international conference which brought together 70 foreign delegates. In October, the Parliament of Georgia was awarded with the Government Champions Award at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Mexico.

Currently, the Parliament of Georgia is discussing the establishment of a Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance, which is one of the commitments of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016

Public Defender's Office Awarded for Ensuring Access to Public Information

Published in Justice
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 16:27

According to the report, the Public Defender's Office showed best results in terms of access to public information and got a special award for transparent work and ensuring access to public information.

The Public Defender's Office has been paying great attention to the issues of freedom of information for years and expresses readiness for openness and active efforts in the future too.

The main trends and challenges of access to public information in 2010-2015 were discussed at the event. The Public Defender's Office is named as one of the most transparent public organizations by IDFI surveys every year.

The Coordination meeting of the Inter-Faction Group and Open Parliament Working Group

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 13:32

The Open and Transparent Governance Parliamentary Council is to be set up in the Parliament as considered at the sitting.

The parties as well discussed the respective changes to the Rules of Procedure, concept and the provision.

According to the Head of the Inter-Faction Group, Tamar Kordzaia, the Council is related to Open Government initiative and the EU funded project envisaging involvement of Georgia therein. The Council aims at coordination and monitoring body set up for implementation of OGP Action Planendorsed by the Bureau on July 17, 2015. The Council is to develop the relevant recommendations. It will be composed of one members from the Factions. According to the Chair of the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee, the IFG member, Giorgi Kakhiani, the Council can be composed of independent MPs as well.

The Council will be chaired by the Speaker or one of the members of the Council with his assignment. The Parliament will consider the draft Rules of Procedure at the extraordinary session. The Council shall be set up for December 31. The Advisory Group shall be established at the Council, composed of local and international organizations.

There are the issues, requiring 7 more changes to the Rules of Procedure. According to the minority MP, IFG member Khatuna Gogorishvili, it is of utmost importance who will chair the Council. “Success of the Council will essentially depend on will, activity and involvement of the Chair”.

According to the IDFI Chair, Giorgi Kldiashvili, the Council will be the guarantee for further transparency of the Parliament. The parties discussed implementation of the initiatives by the organizations, such are IDFI, NDI, GYLA, Civil Society Institute, TI-Georgia. The author organizations spoke about implementation stages, progress and further steps.

After the speeches, T. Kordzaia raised the issue to create OGP Calendar. “All the obligations under the Action plan are in logical relation. Correspondingly, their thematic classification and consideration in the respective working group will result in more effective outcomes”.

Another Award For The NBG In The Freedom Of Public Information

Published in Economics
Friday, 11 December 2015 18:26

NBG received the 2015 award for guaranteeing access to public information. 

The NBG received the special award "For Guaranteeing Access to Public Information in 2015". 

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) presented a summary report on the freedom of information in Georgia in 2010-2015 and discussed the main trends and challenges of accessibility of public information in 2010-2015. Within the framework of the project most and least accountable public institutions have been revealed.

Remarkably the same institution awarded the NBG in 2011 for the best performance in guaranteeing access to public information.


Georgian Parliament to host Open Government Partnership’s Legislative Openness Working Group Conference

Published in Politics
Monday, 14 September 2015 14:49

The OGP LOWG is to be held on September 14-15. The two-day forum “Openness Obligation: the Parliamentary Action Plans, Standards and Tools” aims at consideration of the progress by the WG in terms of legislative openness, including development of Open Parliament action plans and Open Parliamentary Data International norms and standards establishment aspects.

The conference will be attended by the legislative and executive representatives of various countries, civil society leaders, including the high rank Parliamentary Delegations from Georgia, Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine, and participated by up to 70 foreign delegates from up to 20 countries.

The bilateral meetings of the guest delegations are scheduled within the conference. The conference is co-organized by the LOWG. The two-day working meeting is being held within GLOW and is the conclusive event. It is the one-week call on to the civil society and the Parliaments to facilitate to the legislative openness.

The conference is supported by the USAID, GIZ, KohoVolit, EU, UNDP, TI, IDFI and US Embassy.

Parliament of Georgia joins Open Government Partnership

Published in Politics
Thursday, 30 April 2015 10:09

The Georgian Parliament’s Chairperson, David Usupashvili, will sign a Declaration on Parliamentary Openness anda Memorandum between the Parliament of Georgia and international and non-governmental organizations  today 15:00, in the building of the Parliament of Georgia in Kutaisi.

By signing these documents, Georgia will become the first country in the region to subscribe to the Open Parliament principles and promote legislative openness within the frames of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). 

The initiative is supported by the European Union and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Georgian non-governmental organization Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

The Parliament’s work towards key principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) – transparency, accountability, citizen participation, technology and innovation, is being led by the Open Parliament Georgia Working Group launched in February this year.  The group includes 12 members of the Parliament’s Inter-Factional Group and is chaired by MP Tinatin Khidasheli, Head of the Parliament’s Committee for European Integration.

In the coming months, the Working Group will draft an Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan and present it to the Parliament for ratification.

The Declaration is a call by civil society organizations that monitor the work of parliament (parliamentary monitoring organizations or PMOs) for an increased commitment to openness and to citizen engagement in parliamentary work. The Declaration was officially launched at the World e-Parliament Conference 2012 in Rome, Italy, on the International Day of Democracy, September 15, 2012.  The document is presently supported by more than 160 organizations from 82 countries. 

The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective and accountable. Georgia joined the OGP in 2011 and in 2014 became the member of the OGP Steering Committee.

Supporting the legislative openness is the new trend in the OGP which promotes greater openness of the legislative process and enables citizens to engage in policymaking more effectively.  

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