Workshop with Tbilisi-based Media about OGP

DSCN9962On October 11, Institute for Development Freedom of Information (IDFI) and the Ministry of Justice of Georgia conducted the workshop on OGP related issues with Tbilisi-based media-society.

The chairmen of IDFI-Levan Avalishvili and the national coordinator of OGP Georgia – Ketevan Tsanava spoke about past and future activities in accordance with the OGP action plan.

Within the implemented commitments of the action plan of 2012-2013, the e-request of public information draws the journalists’ attention. They claimed that the standard of FOIA request varies depending on the decision of different public institutions. Some state institution requires the scanned version of official letter while in case of others filling the online application is quite enough. Besides, numbers of state institutions do not provide the registration number that on the other hand cause additional complication concerning with hand over the requested information to recipient on time.  Journalists as well as the speakers stated that having similar standards on “FOIA” request must be adopted by the all state institutions.

Herewith, the journalists have also regarded the launch of a monitoring system of public officials’ asset declarations. Also, members of the seminar were interested in the procedure of verification to information, what kind of verification mechanisms must be established and whether the particular state institution would have the access to public officials’ bank accounts. According to the chairmen of IDFI, details like these are under the consideration process, noted that the initial stage would be verification of information from the side of Public Service Bureau, and followed with passing revealed breaches and faults to law enforcement authorities.

The participants of the meeting analyzed every commitment in detail, including the launching of petition portal as well as civil society participation in the process.

Levan Avalishvili emphasized the importance of the seminars aiming at fostering the fulfilling process of commitments with increase participation of civil society.

“Media must be involved in this process, to disseminate, to extend and to keep an eye on fulfilling the commitments“, – he mentioned.

Ketevan Tsanava emphasized the main advantage of OGP that stands on cooperation between government and civil society.  In light of this, the civil society recommendations have the significant importance on the way of adopting as well as fulfilling the action plan.

“Main principle of OGP is the compatibility of commitments and citizens request, on the one hand to improve open government and on the other, to make civil society involved”, – said she.

She spoke about an OGP Steering Committee meeting held on 25, September when Georgia has been elected as the member of Steering Committee for the first time. The ministry of Justice of Georgia –Tea Tsulukiani represented the county at the meeting in New York.

Above mentioned seminar is the seventh workshop conducted by IDFI on OGP related issues financed by USAID within the project of Good Governance (G-3).

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