On July 1, Daria Sukhikh and Evgeny Smirnov, FIF lawyers, took part in an event titled Legal Clinics and Freedom of Information.
The event was organized in St.-Petersburg by the Prince P.G. Oldenburgsky Institute of Law and the Center of Development of Legal Clinics, supported by the Open Society Justice Initiative. It involved staff members from various legal clinics from different Russian regions. They discussed FOI as a working tool for legal clinics. The FIF lawyers spoke of legal regulation of FOI in Russia and on practical implementation of the FOI legislation.
On June 26, a FOI master class was held for political science students of the Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts practicing in the FIF. Daria Sukhikh, FIF Senior Lawyer, told the students on FOI legislative basis in Russia and advised them how to compose requests for information to government bodies. Now, the students will use the new knowledge for practical implementation of public audit.
In May-June 2013, the Freedom of Information Foundation held the seventh annual monitoring cycle for official websites belonging to Russian regional governments, i.e. top executive government bodies of the Russian Federation subjects. Here, we present the monitoring results.
On June 24, the St.-Petersburg City Court reviewed the appeal from the Territorial Election Commission #7 against the decision of the Kirovsky district court (St.-Petersburg) partially satisfying demands of two journalists to consider unlawful the Commission's refusal to let them to attend the Commission working-rooms on the Presidential election day, March 4, 2012. The city court cancelled the first-instance court decision and fully rejected the journalists' demands.
The procuratorate performs, on behalf of the Russian Federation, supervision of the Russian Constitution and laws. This of course includes observance of legislative requirements to information placement at government bodies' official websites. To check how the procuratorate bodies themselves observe these legislative norms, we have monitored official websites of the Russian Federation subjects' prosecutors' offices and other prosecutors' offices (military, specialized) equated to them. The study results are covered at our website; this material is dedicated to examples how prosecutor' offices place information at their websites.
In one more long and complicated criminal case involving FIF lawyers, good sense has won at last. The Federal Security Service (FSB) terminated criminal prosecution of Igor Baranov, Professor of the Baltic State Technical University, who was accused of attempt to cross the national boundary with "materials that could be used for production of weapons of mass destruction". The "materials" in question were – paper sheets with the text of the Professor's report to be presented at a scientific conference.
On May 31, Tatyana Tolsteneva, FIF Development Manager, took part in a seminar of the World Bank on ICT communication between the power and the public
The seminar presented the draft of the World Bank report on issues of ICT implementation in communication between governmental authorities and the public. Its participants proposed possible directions for improving the report. In particular, T.Tolsteneva presented the FIF experience in ICT communication: she spoke on our project for monitoring official websites.