given very diverse among CEE countries. Romania

giventhat only free and rapid information access can make possible collaboration andparticipation.Transparencybased on truthful information allows citizens to take democratic decisions thathave not been influenced by political elite.Acountry’s prevailing information culture is closely tied to the challengesplaced in front of usual information1.However, while in some countries the publishing of free information takes placewith reference to a well developed legal framework, the situation in Centraland Eastern Europe is more complex. The right to information does not lead tothe right of citizens to access easily official records. And not to forget,official secrecy is also a part of the overall legislative system. Whereas inmany countries, the electronic discovery of data implies an obligation todeliver, in CEE we refer to the term “right to information” or “access right.”In an ideal world, authorities would deliver information without reference toany particular occasion.

In Australia, for instance, the obligation to publishis set as the default condition, and the Anglo-Saxon countries havetraditionally restricted information access to a relatively lesser extent. In asurvey in 2003, David Banisar  comparedprocessing periods and administrative costs of accessing information (Banisar, 2004).Sweden was in the top place when it comes to the processing period, followed byHungary with a period of eight days and the United States with a 20-dayprocessing period. Austria was at the bootom, showing an eight-week delay.However,after more than 10 years, due to the national implementation of the EU regulationthe offering of standardized information by the states had expand, as all CEEcountries worked on a better implementation of the data portals2.As for standardized information, this situation is still very diverse among CEEcountries. Romania for instance had several issues despite existing nationallegal framework3.

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 However, for the new EU member states thiswill change in the near future, as they were obliged to implement the compulsoryEU national data portal and its is a matter of time to have relevant results.Thefreedom of information is an important cause in re-democratization, and is directlytied to open government and the transparent state. By embracing the principlesof open government, governments of the world could become more effective, transparent,and relevant to citizens’ lives. This could lead to changing concepts ofgovernance, a change driven by information technology and the changing role ofthe citizen. There are also other implications.

By altering information,hierarchies and adding new forms of governance could also lead to strongconflicts. We need to ask and think critically about where and whentransparency works. As Lessing stressed, management transparency, which is designedto make the performance of government more measurable, will advance howgovernments work, while making government data available to others hashistorically produced enormous value (Lessig, 2009).Nevertheless, according to Lessig, we need to see what comparisons the acts oftransparency will enable, and whether they are in fact meaningful. In addition,acting on the Internet always relinquishes a certain kind of control. ThePoland, one of the most advanced CEE countries in terms of transparency, isstill struggling with transparency isuues.Addressingthe Polish social dialogue problems Wojciech Misztal stressed:„Civil organizations donot meet with proper support from the public administration.

Furthermore, theydo not know how to defend themselves effectively againstmanipulation, reacting with distrust and criticism or easy acceptance ofgovernment proposals. As a result, NGOs lack balanced strategies forconstructive activity that they can express through independent formulations oftheir position in regard to the government (Schimanek 2007: 46).NGOs’ lack of experience in communicating with the authorities is closelyrelated with their susceptibility to manipulation by the governmentadministration.

Such manipulation consists in limiting access to accurate information,or any information-a proceeding that successfully blocks the activities ofNGOs.”(Misztal, 2016, pp. 63–64)Another problem in the context of open data is,again, the digital gap.

How to access and interpret governmental informationand data sets is not yet well known beyond information elite. For instance, inRomania, as documents published by public authorities are often written insophisticated language, the average citizen might encounter difficultiesunderstanding the 1 InEurope, the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 was an early milestone inthe state’s obligation to provide the public with information. It stated,”…anyone is entitled to contact a public authority or agency in Sweden andrequest access to an official document, such as a decision it has made. Anindividual who makes such a request does not need to give his name or specifythe purpose of his request.” in Sveriges Riksdag (2016).2 SeeApendix 1 concerning the Directive 2003/98/EC(on the re-use of public sector information)as amended by Directive 2013/37/EU transposition in national legal framework inthe member states. 3 InRomania because of the poor results related with the Freedom of Information Act(FOIA) implementation, in December 2015, the newly appointed government decidedto speed up the transposition. The compliance level with FOIAin the public institutions increased as following:  for the ministries, the level increased from62% in December 2015 to 95% in February 2016; for the Prefectures, thelevel increased from 66% in December 2015 to 97% in February 2016;  for the County Councils, the level increasedfrom 72% in January 2016 to 93% in March 2016; for the Municipalities, thelevel increased from 58% in December 2015 to 83% in March 2016.

Ministry for PublicConsultation and Civil Dialogue (2016) 


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