The USAID-funded Good Governance in Georgia (G3) program, presented its web-page www.goodgovernance.ge on January 31. For the event, Professor Thomas Hart delivered a speech concerning freedom of information and spoke on the methods how information might be transparent, free and available for citizens.
G3 web-page opened
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 4
According to Program Director Maris Mikelson, G3 aims to improve transparency, accountability and responsiveness at the national level. To accomplish this goal, G3 works with selected government ministries and agencies on their strategic planning, public outreach practices and on improving the skills of their employees.
“G3 focuses on sustainable projects that will have a long-term impact,” Mikelson said, adding that the program is more focused on assistance of state intuitions and people rather than controlling how the recommendations given by them are fulfilled.
Mikelson also emphasized that G3 works at the local level to promote a more responsive, engaged and professional local government.
“In 10 municipalities and cities, G3 works to increase civil society participation, increase citizen awareness of local government issues, improve service delivery and improve the functions of local government councils and executive bodies,” Mikeslon explained.
Diana Chomakhadze Manager of the G3 program PR field, underscored that the web site will deliver complete information concerning ongoing and upcoming events and news within the program, as well as information concerning grants, donors and vacancies.
Professor Hurt touched upon an issue that is still very painful in Georgia, meaning the availability of requested information. The public can demand information regarding some issues from the government.
“The government is obligated to provide the information, or in the case it refuses to provide the information, it needs to provide a justification for this withholding” Hurt stated, adding that there is some information that is confidential and should not be aired.
He also spoke on the methods of public information sharing might be made easier.
“One option is to address the court if you need some information and the government bodies refuse to provide it; through the law you have right to ask for it. However, the process is too lengthy very often. The second option is the creation of an independent central body and third, the creation of an Information Ombudsman that will carry out the mediator role between the government and the one requesting the information,” the Professor told The Messenger. He also stated that during the meeting with government representatives the third version was more favored.