IDFI’S 2022 Report on Access to Public Information in Georgia
According to the 2022 report on the availability of public information in Georgia by the non-governmental organization “Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information” (IDFI), the rate of responses received from public institutions in the previous year decreased by 24% compared to 2021, and it reached 58%, which is “the lowest since 2010.”
Moreover, the data on providing information on time has also decreased since 2010 to the lowest percentage, which is 35%. Furthermore, all ministries showed a significant decline in the index of information availability compared to the previous year. On the other hand, the rate of received responses improved slightly for agencies that belong to the groups of independent agencies (+1%) and councils (+4%).
In 2022, the organization sent 7,582 requests for public information to a total of 374 public institutions. However, only 4,385 (58%) applications received a response, and only 2,640 (35%) of those responses met the 10-day deadline stipulated by law. The rate of non-response to public information is at least 41%, with the largest number of agencies (59%) failing to respond or refusing to provide internal audit reports.
The organization reported that leaving unanswered demands that were connected with the Russia-Ukraine war and its influence on Georgia was “particularly problematic” in 2022. For example, the Georgian government left unanswered the request for information about the humanitarian aid provided to Ukraine, and the maritime transport agency left unanswered the information related to the attempt of ships under international sanctions to enter the ports of Georgia.
In 2022, 69 institutions, including 49 under ministries, left all IDFI applications unanswered. The largest number of requests were left unanswered or refused by state LLCs and LTDs (90%), agencies subordinate to ministries (83%), and central public institutions (66%).
Moreover, the governments of the autonomous republics of Adjara and Abkhazia, as well as agencies subordinate to the “South Ossetian Administration,” provided the most comprehensive answers to the request for public information, with a rate of 69%.
In 2022, only 9 public institutions issued comprehensive and timely (within within the 10-day deadline) information; these included the Bureau of Public Security, the Office of the Public Defender, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports of Adjara. The rate of complete answers is 33%, which is the lowest since 2010.
Indicators of information availability
According to the document, the presidential administration is at the top of the list in terms of access to information among central public institutions with 95.36%. Then comes: Parliament – 85.39%; Ministry of Internal Affairs – 40.44%; Ministry of Education and Science – 29.69%; Ministry of Finance – 27.06%; Ministry of Defense – 25.56%; Government administration – 18.61%.
The Office of the Minister of State for Reconciliation and Civil Equality received negative ratings for not responding to any of the organization’s requests.
In 2022, the “Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information” prepared 56 administrative complaints and 16 administrative lawsuits. However, “despite the legal complexity of the dispute, the court extended the term of consideration of the case by 5 months for all the cases received in the proceedings.”
- 24/01/2023 – IDFI Reports on Employment of Family Members of Judges in Public Sector
- 16/01/2023 – IDFI Reports on Shortcomings in Proactive Disclosure of Public Information
- 08/09/2022 – IDFI Reports on Russian, Belarussian Citizens in Georgia
- 02/09/2022 – IDFI: Russians Dominant Group Receiving Georgian Citizenship
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