Freedom of Information - Key to the Success in the Fight against Corruption
2012 July 11 ( Wednesday ) 14:04:24
Options and opportunities in Azerbaijan using the experience of EU countries in the fight against corruption were discussed Wednesday at an international conference in Baku. The event was organized by NGO "Center for Development of relations between society and citizens," the project "Fight against corruption: the new thoughts, new approaches, new forces", implemented with the support of Marshall.
The Romanian head of the human rights department organization Freedom House, Guseth Cristina Adrian, spoke about the mechanisms of corruption in the EU. The legislative framework to combat corruption in Romania is the Law on Free Access to Information. This document guarantees journalists' access to any official government documents.
It should be noted that the Azerbaijani government is moving in a completely opposite direction and the other day the President approved amendments to the legislation that restrict access to information and economic information about companies owners.
In Romania, another important anti-corruption instrument is the law "On sunlight." This figurative expression refers to the need for public discussion prior to any law of the country before being adopted. In addition, Romania has a law on so-called "spokespersons." "These are people who report about corruption. They are threatened and the law provides them with extra protection," explained the expert.
Practical work in fighting corruption is conducted by an independent national agency of anti-corruption investigations. As emphasized by the expert, the fight against corruption needs constant measures in this area and not campaigns.
The Georgian expert Eka Gegeshidze reported on successful reforms and the serious decrease in the level of corruption in her country, particularly in the areas of customs, police, health, etc.
The Coordinator of the Anti-Corruption Network of NGOs in Azerbaijan Alimammad Nuriyev praised the recent steps by Azerbaijani authorities in building e-government, joining the international initiative "Open Government", etc. However, these steps must be supported by legislation improvement.In particular, the adoption of laws on conflict of interest by officials, criminal liability of legal persons and on the legal protection of persons informing on corruption are required. Along with the laws increasing penalties for corruption, it is important to take steps to improve the business climate, Nuriyev said. With further adoption of laws on prevention of undue economic tests, the procedure for issuing licenses (currently defined by the Cabinet of Ministers) and the Code of Competition.