Committees of the Verkhovna Rada rarely publish information about their activities on websites

Committees of the Verkhovna Rada rarely publish information about their activities on websites

In accordance with international standards and regulations of the Law on Access to Public Information, OPORA has created a rating of websites of VRU Committees based on the availability of socially important data on them. The organization has researched the presence of information published during previous convocations of the Committee, as well as about the effective one and its current activities. Special attention was paid to activities of MPs during consideration of bills.

According to the web-portal of the VR, internet pages were created for 22 committees of 29. However, due to the absence of typical requirements to their content, the level of promulgation differs. Citizens have restricted access to the information about current activities of 7 committees which don't have their own sites. These committees are: Committee on Economic PolicyCommittee on Health CareCommittee on Social Policy and LabourCommittee on Transport and CommunicationsCommittee on Finance and BankingCommittee on Foreign Affairs. It's paradoxical, that Committee on Informatization and Information Technologies, which is responsible for the development of internet space in Ukraine, doesn't have its own site.

In general, OPORA has analyzed websites of Committees and checked their conformity to 31 criteria. Sites received 1 point for publication of information in every category, 0.5 point for partial publication or link to the other resource, and 0 points if the information is absent. As of June 21, 2013 the Organized Crime Control and Anti-Corruption Committee was the best in promulgation of activities. Website of the Committee has received 19.5 points of 31 possible. The site of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information has received 17 points. The Committee on State Building and Local Self-Government is on the third place. It has received 16 points. Content of the Committee on the Rule of Law and Justice is the poorest. This web-resource provides only the list of Committee members, news, and working plan of the MPs. Therefore, it has received 4.5 points of 31 possible. The other sites of VRU committees contain from 18 to 46% of necessary information. OPORA's rating has proved that the amount of information required for publishing on websites of VRU committees considerably differs. A little more than a half of socially important information is published on 3 sites of 22 existing.

The smallest attention on websites of the VRU committees is paid to the current law-making activities of MPs. In order to qualitatively assess such activities, we should have information about: the list of bills, which shall be elaborated by a committee, and draft initiatives, to which a committee shall submit propositions; division of draft laws among sub committees; dates and stages of documents' consideration; list and content of recommendations, expert opinions and decisions on them. However, such information is absent on the majority of websites. Only the site of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information contains 5 of 8 answers about the current law-making activities of MPs. None of the sites contains information about the dates when bills are under consideration. There is almost no information about recommendations and expert opinions on draft legislative acts, as well as about their consideration on meetings of committees.

There is also little information about current activities of committees. For example, information about attendance on meetings is published only on sites of the Organized Crime Control and Anti-Corruption Committee and the Committee on European Integration. The agenda is published only on 9 sites of 22 existing. Verbatim records of sessions are available only on 3 websites.

The insufficient publishing of information about activities of committees in the internet is only a part of a global problem of limited access to socially important information for citizens. Besides that, the Parliament limits access of journalists to meetings of committees. Despite 1.5 million UAH was spent in 2012 on verbatim records of meetings, they are not published. A number of committees don’t publish information about their future plans and activities. As a result, the public doesn't have full information about activities of an authority, which prepares bills to their further consideration in the Parliament.

For comment, please contact:
Roman Martyn,
Civil Network OPORA
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