Blacklisted Armenian Mayor Retreats on Access Charges

17 May 2011

Named to a “Black List” by the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia (FOICA), the mayor of Stepanavan acted to eliminate charges for access to information.

His action came May 13, three days after release or publication of the quarterly list, according to a Center statement. Besides making it on the Center’s black list, the mayor in 2010 received a “Rusty Lock” award. An effort to void the access charges through the legal system had failed.

FOICA Director Shushan Doydoyan said the list names and shames those who do not respond to written inquiries or requests for information from reporters, citizens and NGOs or provide “misleading and in some cases inaccurate information,” according to a report in ArmeniaNow.com.

Health Minister Harutyun Kushkyan was at the top of the list, which also includes Emergency Situations Minister Armen Yeritsyan, Stepanavan Mayor Sargis Gharakeshishyan and Northern University Rector Boris Makichyan.

Out of FOICA’s 50 inquiries in the first quarter of 2011 in 44 cases (88 percent ) a full response was received, an increase from the 51-55 percent rate in 2006, according to FOICA research

Doydoyan said that serious problems exist with officials’ meeting the deadlines for providing information as is prescribed by law (a response to a written request must come within a maximum of five days or notification shall be made that additional time is required for providing a given piece of information).

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