Searching for Proactive Transparency Global Standards: Pilot International Survey on Governmental Online OpennessSubmitted by Inna Kremen on 6 August, 2014 - 17:58
After we had analyzed an article by Professor Sheila S. Coronel called «Measuring Openness: A survey of transparency ratings and the prospects for a global index» we asked ourselves: Is it possible to create a worldwide measure for the openness of governments? In order to answer this question we organized a pilot survey on the basis of an already-completed method of grading the openness of government websites. We invited our colleagues from Belarus, Georgia and the USA to participate.
The results are available on the Infometer website.
We would like to present a short review of our most ambitious project which involves our experts in all parts of Russia – monitoring of the official websites of public authorities and local governments. This is a story about how expert control improves the work of authorities.
On September 5, 2014, the Moskovsky district court of St.-Petersburg held the fourth hearing session on the FIF's application against the prosecutor's recommendation requiring that the FIF should register as an organization performing functions of a foreign agent.
Even before the court hearings, on August 28, the Ministry for Justice of Russia included the FIF into the register of NGOs performing functions of a foreign agent, based on the prosecutor's recommendation in question that has been contested.
The court session lasted for about six hours when the FIF lawyers were proving that the organization did not perform political activities. However, the court rejected the FIF's application. The Freedom of Information Foundation intends to appeal against the court decision.
Preliminary hearings of the Freedom of Information Foundation's case are adjourned until August 12.
The Moskovsky district court of St.-Petersburg scheduled for August 7, 2014, to start examination of the case upon the FIF's application against the prosecutor's recommendation requiring that the FIF should register as an organization performing functions of a foreign agent. The prosecutor's office provided to the court materials of the first inspection that had resulted in an admonition to the FIF, and those of the second inspection resulting in the above-mentioned recommendation. The judge requested additional materials including printouts of the pages of the FIF's Internet resources alleged to prove political activities of our organization. The case is adjourned until August 12.
This is the second time the case is adjourned after 17 June when the first adjournment took place due to absence of a representative of the prosecutor's office.
Both parties of the Suprun v. Russia case have submitted their memoranda answering the questions put by the European Court regarding issues of legal interpretation of the term "personal and family secret".
The Freedom of Information Foundation described in details the progress of the criminal case against Mikhail Suprun, Professor of History, who was in 2009 convicted within Article 137 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation" for "unlawful collecting information comprising personal or family secrets" within an academic research aimed to prepare a Memory Book dedicated to Russian citizens of German origin repressed and committed to special settlements in 1940s. The case was finally terminated only because the statute of limitation has expired (this is not a rehabilitating reason). After all further appeals were rejected by Russian court instances, the defense team submitted an application to the European Court for Human Rights. In January 2014, the Court communicated the case.
Ivan Pavlov, JD, PhD, FIF Board Chair, and Maria Voskobitova are Suprun's legal attorneys in this case.
The Freedom of Information Foundation has for the very first time monitored online informational openness for 100 top Russian universities. The governmental Statement #582 from Jul 10, 2013, approves information categories for mandatory online publication by higher schools. However, the websites monitored have appeared to contain only 32% of the necessary information. For instance, only 6 universities (of 100) provided free access to information on their principals' incomes for 2012-2013.
More detailed results of the monitoring cycle are presented at the Infometer portal (in Russian).
The Infometer portal has published results of 2014 openness monitoring for Russian regional executive government bodies, including audit of regional governments' websites and that of open data publication.
Governmental transparency and open data are key mechanisms for open governance. We have audited regional governments' official websites and regional open datasets for compliance with Russian legislation, expert requirements, and public needs.
Full analytical report – Infometer portal (in Russian)
Full audit results – Infometer monitoring system (in Russian)