From February 15 to April 15, 2012, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech carried out another round of monitoring of the websites of the Armenian state authorities, which was a continuation of the similar monitoring in 2010 and 2011. As was already mentioned in the analysis of the previous studies, the purpose was to assess the level of information transparency in state agencies.
The monitoring was based on the RA constitutional provisions that guarantee citizens’ right to receive official information from state agencies, in their private and/or public interest, as well as on the RA Law on Freedom of Information, which regulates the relations in this area. State authorities possess information that constitutes public property; therefore, it is to be made public, including by means of publishing on websites. These websites should serve as sources of complete information about the government’s activities. The following monitoring results indicate how successful are various government agencies in this regard.
The websites of 52 state and local government bodies were monitored in accordance with a common methodology (see the relevant section of this report). These websites can be divided in three groups. The first group included the websites of 35 ministries and central government bodies. The second group included the official websites of the 10 marzes (provinces), connected through the Territorial Administration System network (henceforth referred to as marzpetarans’ websites). The third group included the websites of the RA President, the RA National Assembly, the RA Government, the RA Constitutional Court, the RA Prosecutor General’s Office, as well as the Yerevan Municipality and the RA Human Rights Defender’s Office.
All these websites were evaluated in accordance with the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the published information, in particular:
- the existence of the required information or the lack thereof,
- completeness of information,
- accessibility (from a technical point of view).The websites were evaluated by 177 parameters, of which 150 referred to the content, and 27 were technical. The collected data was used in the specially developed formulas to calculate quantitative and qualitative coefficients of information, followed by the final weighted coefficient and the information transparency coefficient, which was the main indicator. The websites of state agencies were then rated in the descending order of this coefficient.Given the comparability of the received data, the websites in the first two groups (central government agencies (ministries, government bodies and other state agencies) and marzpetarans’ websites) were rated separately. The websites in the third group were not rated at all, because their functions and, consequently, the data collected during monitoring, were not comparable.Read more