Georgia has been ranked first of 13 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and 29th in the world in terms of open governance, says an international organisation working to advance the rule of law around the world.
The World Justice Project (WJP) has just published its Open Government Index 2015 report where Georgia gained a score of 0.61, outperforming Slovenia, Macedonia, Greece and Croatia. The highest score (0.81) was collectively awarded to Sweden, New Zealand and Norway.
Scores ranged from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating greatest openness.
Georgia’s result was based on answers drawn from a representative sample of 1,000 respondents in the country’s three largest cities– Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi – and a set of in-country practitioners and academics. Overall, the WJP research covered 102 countries.
An open government – conventionally understood as a government that shares information, empowers people with tools to hold the government accountable, and fosters citizen participation in public policy deliberations – is a necessary component of a system of government founded on the rule of law.
The WJP Open Government Index 2015 scored countries on four dimensions of government openness: (1) publicised laws and government data, (2) right to information, (3) civic participation, and (4) complaint mechanisms. These dimensions were intended to reflect how people experienced varying degrees of openness in their daily interaction with government officials.
Georgia gained its highest score in the second dimension - right to information. In this category Georgia ranked 16th place in the world with a score of 0.70.
The country’s lowest score, 0.51, was obtained in the publicising laws and government data category. In this group, Georgia took fourth place in the region and 36th in the world.
In terms of complaint mechanisms, Georgia was given a score of 0.57, taking it to fourth place in the region and 48th in the world.
Georgia’s citizens said the scale of the information published by the Government was "very high, quality and reliable” however only 39 percent thought the Government provided them with "enough information”.
Twenty-one percent knew about the right to information in Georgia. The number of people who had ever used public information was very low, only eight percent.
Despite the majority of people (94 percent) believing the Government provided information very frequent, the delivery of information took time, respondents said. Only 59 percent of required public information was provided in seven days. The research showed the Government took from one week to one month to provide the required information.