18.3.2013

Free Access to Information in Abkhazia

Organization: Union of Journalists and Media Workers in Abkhazia

Location: Abkhazia

Year: 2013

The Abkhazian association of journalists extended their campaign for abolition of libel to another topic which does not concern media and journalism solely.  The organization intends to enforce such changes to the law on free access to information which would allow a functional mechanism to be established, that enables anyone to get almost any information from the authorities.

A few years ago non-profit organizations in Abkhazia succeeded in pushing a law on free access to information through. Nevertheless, it appears its existing version is not working well enough – mainly due to the fact that in reality the rights guaranteed by law are difficult to enforce. Therefore the group is carrying out an analysis of the way the present law functions and will find out about the attitudes to it of the institutions responsible. The group’s lawyers will prepare a proposal, suggesting changes to the existing law which would improve the actual possibility of accessing information.  The association will then strive for the changes to be approved by the Parliament. A large information campaign calling for free access to information should help to get this goal through. The campaign will take place in local or new media and at public debates or roundtables where public and the representatives of organizations, the running of which will be affected by the new law, will be contacted directly.

The working of this active group and the campaign calling for free access to information was supported by NESEHNUTÍ not only financially but also by strategically planning the campaign and providing consultations and materials concerning similar campaigns in other countries or researching foreign information laws.

Thanks to NESEHNUTÍ a representative of the group will be able to do a month internship in the Czech Republic, with a focus on the amendment of the information law which is being prepared and on the attitudes of both the public administration and civil society initiatives. The intern will also acquire the ways of utilizing the information law from the position of non-governmental organizations, as well as from the one of the media.