GONG: Government not open to the public

04. September 2008.

The Croatian government is not open to the public, thus violating the principles of good governance and responsibility towards citizens, representatives of the nongovernmental organisation GONG said on Thursday, presenting the findings of a six-month project monitoring the government‘s work.

ZAGREB, Aug 28 (Hina) - The Croatian government is not open to the public, thus violating the principles of good governance and responsibility towards citizens, representatives of the nongovernmental organisation GONG said on Thursday, presenting the findings of a six-month project monitoring the government's work.

GONG members said that they had been monitoring the government's work since the beginning of its term in order to report to the public about its transparency in the decision-making process.

The project focused on the timely publication of the agendas and materials of open and closed sessions and on the availability of other government decisions.

GONG president Suzana Jasic said that closed-door sessions were the biggest problem. Incomplete statements are issued after closed-door sessions, despite the fact that the government must report to the public about the content of such sessions within an hour of their completion, Jasic said.

She also noted that the government's rules of procedure did not provide for the possibility of holding a session over the telephone, but that such sessions were frequent.

"Judging by statements from government sessions, only decisions on dismissals and appointments are made at closed-door sessions, and it is absurd that even the agenda of such sessions is declared confidential," Jasic said.

The government's web site does not contain any decision adopted at closed-door sessions regarding the allocation of government funds, even though the funds in question belong to all taxpayers, Jasic said.

"We learned through other channels that before the last elections 70 million kuna was granted to the Catholic Church, and we could not find information on the government's donation to GONG on its web site either," Jasic said.

Jasic believes that the government disregards the Law on the Right to Access Information and gives a bad example to ministries, counties and other bodies of public authority.

The report on the openness of the government to the public was also forwarded to the European Commission and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Report (237 KB, in Croatian)

(Hina) rml

chevron-right