1 September 2013 the new Decree of Government came into force and receiving of public information became possible, although the State bodies have not yet launched the given possibility. The Decree adopted by the government based on recommendation from NGOs concerns the following administrative bodies: State Chancellery of Georgia, Ministries, Staff of the State Minister of Georgia, State sub-body structure, legal person of public law under control of Georgian ministries and State Minister of Georgia and special military establishment under control of existing executive branch.
Bodies falling only under the given category are obliged to ensure possibility for requesting public information by means of electronic resource. This means that on their websites they must create special page from which it will be possible to electronically request registration of needed public information and then automatically confirm in order in case of non-receiving of information to submit a lawsuit to court and for a person to be able to prove that he has really sent information electronically.
The same Decree reads that counting of 10-day deadline set by the General Administrative Code for receiving of public information will start after confirmation of registration of request for public information by an administrative body, with indication of public information request registration number, on a second working day.
According to the Director of the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information Giorgi Kldiashvili, for the moment consultations with the government on the system of sending letters are underway.
“The given system must be universal for all the bodies. Electronic mail (E-mail) is the most primitive and does not have any security mechanisms; a new system must be created. Standard must be developed before the end of this month and implemented,” Giorgi Kldiashvili told Media.ge and stressed that IDFI plans to monitor the given process.
Public information can already be requested from the President’s Administration and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. There is a special box on President’s Administration website after filling in of which it is possible send a letter, although, it must be stressed that confirmation notification is not being sent back. On the MIA website a special code is to be sent to a mobile phone and only after that it is possible to send a letter, although they do not confirm receiving a letter here either.
Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure website did not only not create public information page but even warns visitors that “letter sent via website is only of information character and accordingly a response to it cannot have legal force!”
Along with electronic request for public information the given Governmental Decree also obliges State bodies to create public information page with contact information of an official responsible for publication of public information, forms/samples of administrative appeals and rules for appealing and normative acts on public information.
Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Energy have already fulfilled the given obligation. Ministry of Energy has even practically published information of several categories provided for by the given Decree.
List of information to be published proactively is attached to the Decree. Bodies are obliged to publish information created from 1 January 2013, before 31 December 2013.