CVU: Ukrainian authorities not ready to be open
The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] have given a negative assessment of the authorities’ readiness to implement the Law on Access to Public Information which came into force on 9 May. A press conference in Kyiv to present the results of CVU monitoring was given by the Head of CVU, Oleksandr Chernenko, National Deputy and one of the co-authors of the Public Information Act, Andriy Shevchenko and Dmytro Prokopchuk from the Spilka Political Club.
The monitoring, carried out in cooperation with the civic initiative New Citizen, took place from 10 to 17 May and covered 71 institutions in 15 regions of Ukraine and in Kyiv.
The monitors wanted to establish how effective the norms of the new Law are by checking their implementation in practice, as well as to show the level to which these norms are being enforced at the organization and technical levels.
Oleksandr Chernenko pointed out that the relevant bodies had had three months from when the Act was signed into law to prepare themselves, yet the monitoring had shown that the average grade for level of preparation was 2.5 out of 5.
He added that whereas with the central authorities and institutions in large cities the situation was more or less satisfactory, there was virtually nil preparation at district [raion] level or lower. Some officials had actually learned of the existence of the new Law from the CVU representatives.
Dmytro Prokopchuk noted that there are significant problems with implementing the Law due to the irresponsible approach of those supposed to implement it. “Among those responsible for the implementation of the Law on Access to Public Information there is a certain scepticism with respect to introducing the new norms. Officials very often said that they did not plan to implement the new law or would treat this in a purely formal manner. We therefore do not as yet see noticeable activity by members of the public in using the law, aside from a small number of journalists and civic activists”.
Andriy Shevchenko who is the Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech said that the CVU monitoring results had been a “real shock” for him.
“I didn’t have any particular illusions about officials’ desire to become more open, but I couldn’t have dreamt that sabotage would reach such proportions. I think that the authorities, in the first instance, executive bodies of power, need to draw serious conclusions over the results of the CVU monitoring, including conclusions regarding staff.”