08.11.2005 | Oleksandr Shapovalov, Kherson

The level of transparency in State executive bodies


Some leader of the “orange movement” said “The renewed power is more transparent than the old one!” It happened that the Kherson organization of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine checked this thesis in practice. And the results of this check were not optimistic.

According to the provisions of international declarations, conventions and pacts, our Ukrainian Constitution and laws, everybody has the right for free search, obtaining, use and distribution of any information, which is not related to state, commercial and bank secrets, and if the rights of other persons are not violated by this.

In the framework of the project of monitoring of human rights in the Kherson region the regional organization of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine handed, during the first half of August, 42 informational requests on 99 questions to the power organs. On the basis of this information the analytic groups of our organization had to systematize the unofficial view on the observance of human rights in the region.

We planned to obtain the data, which the power had to render us in accordance with law, but find quite different information, the information on transparency of power organs. We even managed to calculate certain coefficient of transparency of the activities of power structures.

The process of correspondence with the organs of state power lasts until now, but there are some results already, about which we want to inform. The force structures (police, prosecutor’s office, USS) turned out to be most “obscure”: they got the last place by almost all characteristics. So, the level of reaction to the requests is only about 30% (responses and considered questions), the proportion of the satisfied questions was 35%, and 45% of questions were rejected.

However, the law-enforcing organs at least tried to react to the questions put in our informational requests. The force structures, in their turn, did not hesitate to declare directly about “impossibility of rendering of information”, “confidentiality of information” and “restriction of the access to the official document with aim of provision of secrecy of investigation, fair court consideration and organization of citizens’ rights”, although sometimes one could contend with these formulations. Yet, there is the fact: only 18% of questions contained in our informational requests caused no reaction. And this, in comparison with the reaction of other groups of power organs, is the best result, although negative one. Other authorities just “did not pay attention to the requests of representatives of public.

At that the factual term of consideration of the questions by law-enforcers is 21 day (this is the period from the date of handing of a request to the date of reception of response, but not the date of its signing).

The second place from the bottom is occupied by the departments of the regional state administration, which gave answers to 6 questions out of 7 (86%), but rendered information only on 54% of questions, did not satisfy 23% and ignored 23% of questions (the proportion of “refusals” was formed “thanks to” the regional department of health protection, which did not want to communicate the statistical data on the calls of ambulance to the establishments of the closed type and on the citizens turning to medical establishments with the traumas inflicted by the officers of police and prosecutor’s office). The factual term of consideration of the requests was 15 days.

The next step of this “hit parade” is occupied by various controlling and supervision organs (inspections, sanitation centers, centers for protection of the rights of customers and businessmen, auditors, tax organs, etc.). They answered 10 requests out of 10. Although there were no refusals, one third of all questions in the requests was ignored (this index is the greatest one among all groups). The factual term of consideration of the requests was 25 days.

The full information on our requests was given only by the regional departments of ecology, land resources, press and information, protection of customers’ rights, social protection pf population and the department of internal policy of the regional state administration. We want to express our gratitude to them.

All in all, in the first half of August we sent 42 requests with 99 questions and obtained 25 responses containing answers to 54 questions, which made 60% and 55%, respectively. The average proportion of satisfied questions is 52%, the proportions of refusals and neglect were 21% and 27%; the average term of response was 20 days.

All this happened in spite of the fact that the requested information concerned only the first half of current year, and the requests were handed on behalf of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Vilny vybor” of the Kherson regional organization of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine (which should cause more attentive attitude to the requests and influence the level of positive reaction).

Summing up the aforecited data, I want to point out that I am disturbed by the results, because it has become obvious again that the power wants to stay “near, but not with us”, depriving mass media and representatives of public of the possibility to communicate the “concealed information” to common citizens.

In order to “make clear” the power organs, the repeated requests and complaints were directed to the top authorities of these organs.

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