On 1st September, 2013, the Decree N: 219 of the Government of Georgia “About Electronic Requests and Proactive Disclosure of Public Information” dated 26th August, signed by the Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili went into force.
The Decree prescribes, significant initiatives, developed with the coordination of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) by the civil society organizations and the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Justice. Civil Society Recommendations have been widely discussed at the workshops and public discussions with the intensive participation of independent international and local experts. The Final Package of the Recommendations was elaborated in the framework of the IDFI and USAID G-3 program Joint Project “Improving of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Increasing Public Awareness on FOIA.”
The Decree contains seven sections, defining standards of Public information disclosure, rules of request of electronic request of public information and the List of Information to be Published Proactively. The decree went into force from 1st of September, 2013, which is applied to the following administrative bodies.
- Particularly, the administrative bodies are obliged to guarantee the proactive disclosure of the public information on the corresponding electronic resources (web-sides) from 1st September, 2013 to 31st of December 2014.
- The obligation of proactive disclosure of public information defined by the annex (List) of the decree is applied to information issued after the 1st January 2013 and the information published is equally accessible, without any kind of fees, except in the cases prescribed by the law to any person.
- List of Proactive Disclosure of the Public Information, prescribes minimal obligation of the information which is public and accessible for any person and ensures transparency of the administrative body’s activities, plans, funding and expenses, state procurements and state property privatization.
- Additionally, the administrative body is obliged, in the frameworks of their activities and competence, to proactively publish other public information that might constitute public interest.
- However, it’s worth to stress that the decree prescribes that proactive disclosure of public information does not free the public institution from the obligation to satisfy the requests of the same or other public information prescribed by the General Administrative Code of Georgia.
- Under the decree, the public institution is obliged to ensure accuracy, authentity and periodic updates of the proactively published information and that the information can be downloaded, printable and copied.
- The Decree defines a significant novelty from 1st of September, 2013: the rules of electronic request of public information. The public institution is obliged to establish a registry and automatic confirmation system of the electronic requests.
- The term will be counted from the next working day, following the confirmation of reception of an electronic request for information, along with the indication of the registry number from the public institution.
- According to the decree, the Administrative body is obliged to appoint a person (persons) responsible for the availability of public information, including the issuance in electronic form and the proactive disclosure of information.