Searching for Proactive Transparency Global Standards: Pilot International Survey on Governmental Online Openness

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.

A Bit Open Data

We present results of audit performed together with the Open Government and addressing open data publication at Russian federal executive government bodies' websites.

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Since 2013, open data has become a key topic of discussions on governmental openness. They expect that "free" vast volumes of machine-readable official information will facilitate communication between the government and the public, and bring economic profit. Some people already consider the Open Data as a basis for open state governance, expecting that its other components will develop following data openness. The Openness Standard for Federal Government Bodies as well as federal legislation pays significant attention to open data. The Freedom of Information Foundation has studied how the requirements are observed.

Monitoring of the government bodies’ official websites as an efficient tool for public control

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.

The "Soldiers' Mothers of St.-Petersburg" and the FIF Contest Warnings Made by the Ministry for Justice

Today, the Soldiers' Mothers of St.-Petersburg human rights NGO and the Freedom of Information Foundation filed complaints against warnings made by the St.-Petersburg department of the Ministry for Justice. FIF lawyers Ivan Pavlov and Evgeny Smirnov together with FIF Executive Director Daria Sukhikh represent interests of both NGOs.

The "Soldiers' Mothers of St.-Petersburg" Ask to Oblige the Ministry of Defense to Disclose Information on Hospitalizing Wounded Soldiers

On November 6, 2014, Ella Polyakova, head of the Soldiers' Mothers of St.-Petersburg human rights NGO, filed a claim to the Frunzensky district court of St.-Petersburg, contesting lawfulness of the refusal of the Ministry of Defense's Main Military Medical Directorate to provide information on hospitalization of wounded military service people, received in September 2014. FIF lawyers Ivan Pavlov and Evgeny Smirnov represent Ms. Polyakova's interests in court.

An Appeal against the Court Decision Considering the FIF as a "Foreign Agent"

The FIF has filed an appeal against the decision of the Moskovsky district court of St.-Petersburg.

We should remind that the FIF contested the recommendation by the prosecutor's office obliging our organization to register as a NGO performing functions of a foreign agent. However, after a number of hearing sessions, on September 5, 2014, the Moskovsky district court of St.-Petersburg rejected the FIF's application.

The FIF does not agree with the court decision. Our lawyers prepared an appeal filed now to the St.-Petersburg City Court.

 

The Ministry of Justice Warns the Freedom of Information Foundation

The Freedom of Information Foundation has got one more warning. This time it comes from the St.-Petersburg Head Department of the Ministry for Justice of Russia. They threaten to impose a fine upon our organization or even to strike it off. The Foundation will contest the warning in court.

The scan of the warning (in Russian) is attached to the Russian page.

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We are always open to cooperation

The methodology developed by Freedom of information Foundation for monitoring official websites is applicable widely. It is convenient, efficient and can be used for research in various fields. We are interested in cooperation with different governmental and non-government entities in various countries in order to extend the monitoring practice, including possible joint comparative researches.