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Concerning the claims of Journalists Club “Asparez” on freedom of information

 

18 | 09 | 2010 | 12:00 | Press release                         in Armenian

 

During the period of April 9, 2009 to June 8, 2010, in the frames of the project “Accountability via FOI implementation” implemented by Journalists’ Club “Asparez” (grant support of the project by the organization “Partnership for Democracy”), 24 seminars on studying the law of RA “On Freedom of Information” have been organized in Shirak, Lori and Tavoush regions for local and state authorities, school directors, journalists, representatives of non-governmental organizations and interested citizens, TV programs directed to commenting the law were organized, informative booklets, posters and TV clips were produced. In the frames of the same project 856 informative inquiries have been directed to the information owners of the same regions – with a request to provide the information which they possess and which does not contain any secrets envisaged by the law.

 

The overwhelming majority of these inquiries is directed to the directors of state schools (SNTO) and heads of communities. The following information has been asked for from the directors: school budget for 2008 and copies of the documents reflecting the budget implementation, the list of School Councils members, copies of the protocols of the meetings of the Pedagogical Councils, the name and surname of the Chairman of the Parents’ Council, the number of the pupils of the school as of January 1, 2008, January 1 2009, as well as information on the paid classes. The community heads were asked for the community budgets and copies of the Councils’ decisions.

 

Information inquiries have also been sent to Marzpets, several Ministers, government attached departments etc. Detailed information on the replies to these inquiries and the quality and legality of the school directors’ replies will be in the future. Information on the responses is placed on www.asparez.am site, link http://www.asparez.am/epd-foi-project/26.9.2009-workshop-berd-noyemberyan.htm

 

Part of the received information on the inquiries is already processed and placed on www.asparez.am site, the rest of it, together with the newly received material, are in the stage of processing and will become accessible after being processed.

 

Because of failing to receive information or replies to the inquiries of the club from careless authorities, starting from February 2010 the Chairman of the JCA Council started to apply to RA Administrative Court. Totally 45 claims have been initiated, the majority of them are against school directors of Shirak, Lori and Tavoush regions. Detailed information about it will be made in future.

 

Hearings on two other claims of Journalists Club Asparez are already over and the verdicts will be published in future.

 

  1. One of them became necessary when in spite of 2 inquiries to get information, the ex-Marzpet of Shirak refused to provide this information to the inquirer. On January 18 and 29, 2010 L. Barseghayn asked to provide him with the information on: (1) the sums (one by one, in accordance with the decisions) provided by Shirak Marzpetaran according to the article “Other supports from the budget” in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 as a financial support to the indigent people- residents of the region  according to their applications and on the basis of corresponding studies, and copies of all the decisions made by Shirak Marzpet on the provision of these sums;

And (2) information on the expenses made by Shirak Marzpetaran in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 by the articles “Other supports from the budget” and “Representative costs”, particularly, how many decisions are made yearly, how much money is spent by each decision, what service or goods are purchased, what providers are they bought from, etc.

 

At the beginning of the year the daily newspaper “Aravot” and Center of Freedom of Information lodged a claim against Shirak Marzpet after Shirak Marzpetaran didn’t reply to the inquiry of the “Aravot” newspaper journalist on provision of the same information: http://www.aravot.am/am/articles/rights/75432/view

 

While answering the second inquiry for information by L. Barseghyan justified the refusal by saying that the information about the sums provided by the Article  “Other supports from the budget” contain personal secrets, and the purchases made by the Article “Representative Costs” contain trade secrets.

 

The case was examined at Gyumri Seat of RA Administrative Court (the judge – E. Nahapetyan). The applicant only agreed to make peace on condition that the inquired information will be provided fully, and he will refuse the claim, including the demand to reimburse the court expenses. Shirak region ex-marzpet Lida Nanyan didn’t agree to make peace, but her successor Ashot Giziryan considered it proper making peace on these conditions. On June 16, 2010 the parties made peace in the Court. According to this agreement, Shirak Marzpet is sorry for the inconvenience experienced by Levon Barseghyan in connection with the implementation of the right for freedom of information and is obliged to provide the inquired information by July 1, 2010, and Levon Barseghyan renounces any further complaints and appeals. The text of the agreement on peace is attached to this release. The interests of L. Barseghyan were presented by the lawyer Artak Zeylanyan.

In regards to this agreement Journalists Club Asparez highly appreciates the readiness of the newly appointed Shirak Marzpet Ashot Giziryan to ensure publicity in this issue, which was not the case with the former Marzpet.

 

Journalists Club Asparez is going to make detailed examination of the information to be received in the result of this issue, provide it to all the interested journalists and publish it in the web site for general access. Besides, Journalists Club Asparez finds it proper to apply to all the Marzpets and RA Government suggesting making public the information on provision of the sums to the citizens by the decisions of Marzpets by RA budget article  “Other supports from the budget”, so that the public has an opportunity to be informed about how these sums are used, who receives them, how much and why.

 

2. Journalists Club Asparez initiated the second case against RA National Revenue Committee when the latter refused to provide L. Barseghyan with information about its pre-holiday purchases in December 2009. The issue was about the sensational purchases, when RA National Revenue Committee organized a party in “The Marriott-Armenia” hotel for 270 persons for 29,5 million AMD and rewarded its employees with watches for 0,9–1,1 million AMD drams (totally 21,2 million drams). Journalists Club Asparez wanted to know who these awarded officials were, when the above mentioned event started and finished and which actors acted performed during it. Information on the details of the hearing and terrible comments of the representative of the responder will be coming.


 

 

 

 

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Ինտերնետային կայքի հետ կապված բոլոր առաջարկություններով կապվեք levon@asparez.am  հասցեով:

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