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Training course for freedom of information officers of state bodies

06/04/2016

A training course entitled "Freedom of information as a tool for promoting the transparency of state bodies and integrity of state officials" was organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia jointly with the OSCE Office in Yerevan from 5 to 6 April for freedom of information officers of state bodies. The course was kicked-off with a welcoming speech by Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Suren Krmoyan and Democratization Programme Officer of the OSCE Office in Yerevan David Gullete.

The Deputy Minister touched upon the principle of freedom of information emphasising its importance in the promotion of the transparency and accountability of state administration and local self-government bodies, as well as of the participatory and good governance. According to him, this event is provided for by the Anti-corruption Strategy, the goal of which is to reduce corruption risks in state administration and local self-government sectors through availability of information. In particular, necessary and sufficient information provides citizens with an opportunity to scrutinize the activities of state agencies through involvement in the process of public administration. According to Suren Krmoyan, the Ministry of Justice attaches great importance to open and transparent governance and for that reason various tools are being developed so that the institute of freedom of information becomes more developed. According to him, based on these considerations, a new legislation is being drafted, the goal of which is to enhance the availability of information among the public.

David Gullete considered the freedom of information as the most important tool of good and transparent governance. According to him, it contributes to the increase in the transparency of activities of state bodies for journalists. The OSCE representative extended his thanks to the Government of the Republic of Armenia, in particular, to the Ministry of Justice for the efforts made and the close co-operation in this regard, by assuring that the OSCE will continue to support the Republic of Armenia in sectors of regulatory reform and improvement of legislation.

Afterwards, the participants discussed the legal framework for freedom of information, objects and subjects for the provision of information, ways of receipt and provision thereof, grounds for refusal, as well as issues concerning the role of freedom of information in reducing corruption risks.

During the course, the provisions of a new secondary legislative act of the sector of freedom of information were also discussed, pursuant to which, in the sector, activities of the freedom of information officers, procedures for filing electronic queries, maintaining statistics of queries have been regulated, issues concerning the accessibility of the receipt of information and issues concerning the payment therefor have been solved, a clear-cut requirement in terms of integrity of the content of response to the query for receiving information has been defined, etc. 

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