Project Title: Monitoring of Governmental Agencies' Informational Recourses.
Project is financed by the Open Society Institute ($30 000.00) and the National Security Archive ($15 000.00)
Budget of the Project-$45 000.00
Duration of the project-6 months.
In July 2010 Institute for Development of Freedom of Information launched a project “Monitoring of Governmental Agencies Informational Recourses (official web-sites)”. Project is financed and supported by the Open Society Institute ($30 000.00) and the National Security Archive ($15 000.00).
Within the project the IDFI will provide auditing of official web-sites of state organizations to assess the level of their transparency and access to information. The project is the developing of the previous project that was initiated by the IDFI in 2009 (Auditing of Official Web-Sites of Executive Authorities (Ministries) of Georgia).
The Aim of the Project:
To increase the degree of transparency of public institutions;
To promote the development of freedom of information;
To develop Electronic Governance in Georgia.
Long-term Objective of the Project:
To promote the development of freedom of information and electronic governanceby auditing official web-sites of public institutions.
Promoting the development of freedom of information and electronic governance by auditing official web-sites of public institutions.
Strategy to follow:
Auditing official web-sites of the public institutions of Georgia;
Calculating and analyzing ratings by estimating the results of the auditing of the web-sites;
Preparing recommendations for public institutions on freedom of information and efficient modes of electronic governance (and proactive lobbing for the changes);
Preparing reports on the existing situation in the realm of freedom of information in Georgia.
The fundamental function of any government is to serve its citizens based on the principle of equality and justice. It should dedicate itself to civic engagement with open effective dialogue with a society in which there is no distinction between "have and have-nots" and where nobody is marginalized from the main stream.
To build a successful democratic state and civil society it is essential to have an open and transparent political system on the one hand and an active society aware of their duties and rights on the other.
Good governance assumes the necessity of balancing interrelation between these two aspects. Maintain in the cohesive force that is required by society to integrate and follow state activities in a more interactive manner helps to strengthen state legitimacy and relations of trust between public officials and ordinary citizens.
Good governance cannot function without facilitating transparency, i.e. right to information. To facilitate transparency and accountability government first and foremost has to improve access to information and services for citizen and businesses.
In Georgia, where despite the rapidly growing web-space, the culture of electronic democracy is just emerging the need for monitoring these processes is especially critical and urgent.
Development of Georgian web-space will create conditions for full realization of citizen's right to search, request, access and disseminate information. Empowering of people will help making our government more accountable and responsive to the demands and needs of the citizens.
It is due to the above factors that addressing the issue of freedom of information remains a top priority and a vital component of our organization’s strategy.Institute for Development of Freedom of Information continues to execute and advance a project (Monitoring of Governmental Agencies' Informational Recourses)developed last year which aims to facilitate citizens' access to information and enabling e-governance in the country.
Although the newly established Institute was not that famous in the NGO sector when the pilot-project was finished, the outcomes of the project and the work done was met with a big interest. This can be explained with the several factors. First of all this is the innovative idea, because this was the first case in Georgia when the accent was so distinctly made on the transparency of the governmental web-space. Also, we must take in consideration the fact, that generally a new Georgian society is being involved more actively in the Internet reality. If before Internet was only the source of exchange of information, now time by time it is becoming to be used as the exchange of various social-economic services.
The main goal of the project is to support the development of transparent informational space in Georgia by undertaking research activities and analysis on the Georgian governmental web-space. The first auditing carried out by the Institute covered only the Ministries of Georgia, while research undertaken within a framework of current project is targeted on presenting a wider picture about governmental web-space to the Georgian society. An estimated number of over 45 official web-sites of state agencies will undergo a thorough audit by our Legal Expert team. General picture will show the real existing problems and the comparative analysis will put forward those of tendencies for establishing e-governance and electronic democracy in Georgia.
The main challenge of this project is not just to undertake monitoring and evaluation activities and to present the general picture of the Georgian governmental web-space, but to achieve real changes according to plans of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information. With that in mind the strategy of the research is targeted on creation of a concrete environment for developing of web-space between governmental structures. By establishing and maintaining an interactive channel of communication with monitored public institutions this project aims to raise the sense of internal competition between the governmental bodies, consequently resulting in a positive shift towards developed within the web-space.
Purpose of the primary study conducted by the Institute was to find out as to what extent the state information resources are available and what portion of information is published on official web-sites of state authorities. Besides, qualitative indices of published information were rather important. At the initial stage of the study, only assessment was made aimed at detection of common challenges and existing shortcomings.
The strategy of current project has remained intact in its essence however it is now based on more proactive methods. Accents are now made not only on the relations with the state institutions but also on the civil participation. An interactive strategy is based on three components. It is oriented on:cultivating productive working relations with state structures; actuating media and expert resources;and on those of social networks for active public participation.
By the completion of each monitoring session preliminary results and a short recommendation list is sent to the government agency to encourage and develop a functional co-operative engagement on the basis of web improvement initiatives.
To achieve a wider media and expert interest the Institute is preparing the electronic bulletin and publishing it on the IDFI web-site. The Institute is then sending the electronic bulletin to the interested research centers and institutions, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and foundations, and media sector.
Spreading of the monitoring results to a wider public using a number of social networks (namely Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/IDFI/111225785601207, blogs and Internet forums) is effective in raising the interest and awareness among the citizens and enables a better public participation in discussions of the issue.