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On January 29-30, FIF specialists together with the Regional Press Institute held a two-day seminar Internet and Power: How to Use Modern Network Tools of FOI and Governmental Transparency in Journalism. Journalists from various Russian regions took part in the seminar.
In the informational society with dominating transnational values such as freedom of information and decision-making transparency, the legal institution of state secret obtains a new social (or anti-social?) status differing from that it had in the era of national state establishment. It is one of key institution of the outgoing era. Just like another institution, that of emergency state, it is now in a "neutral" zone between political interests of a national state and trans-national legal values of informational society. Due to this mounting contradiction, the historical context of the state secret institution should be researched by specialists in a number of disciplines, explains Anastasia Semenova, FIF researcher.
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has a disputable position on publication of statistical data covering judicial activities, believing that such information should be summarized and published at the official website of the Judicial Department under the Supreme Court while a general jurisdiction court should only place at its website a link to that summarized data. Thus, there is no possibility to obtain statistical infrmation on activities of a specific court.
The Freedom of Information Foundation believes that, according to the Federal Law “On Providing Access to Information on the Activities of Courts in the Russian Federation”, a general jurisdiction court should publish its own statistical information on its official website. The Russian page presents a legal explanation prepared by the FIF legal researcher, Veronika Burachevskaya.
An article by Mikhail Pozdnyakov, our expert and Research Fellow of the Institute for the Rule of Law (European University), tells how IT were introduced into activities of general jurisdiction courts and arbitration courts, and explains current state of informational openness in the two branches of the judicial power.
Internet as a Tool for Strengthening Public Trust in General Jurisdiction Courts: Ways and ProspectsSubmitted by svobodainfo on 25 January, 2013 - 18:11
Since 2010, the Freedom of Information Foundation performs comprehensive research of judicial online openness. The analysis of current state of affairs makes to conclude that development of the courts' websites can greatly increase public trust in Russian justice but this potential is underestimated. Judicial informational openness could promote legal culture growth and help the justice to position itself in the public mind as an independent institution able to solve problems in a civilized and efficient way.
Online openness could be useful both for the public and the judicial system: electronic interaction with citizens could reduce the work burden for court staff and improve courts' and judges' reputation. However, general jurisdiction courts not always consider implementation of judicial transparency principles as a priority task, and do not respond public informational demands timely. This study aims to prove actuality of changes, and proposes a number of guidelines for improvement of courts' official websites.
On January 17, 2013, the Russian Government issued the Statement #6 On Standards for Information Disclosure in the Field of Water Supply and Water Disposal.
On January 18, FIF specialists prepared several proposals for the Informational Openness Declaration of Social Oriented NGOs in Novgorod Oblast developed by the Transparency International-Russia in partnership with a number of NGOs from Novgorod Oblast:
Our specialists proposed some clarifications for the Declaration terms and definitions.