Monitoring the State’s Implementation of the Right to Access Information Law
Gherbal Initiative’s project, Right to Access Information (r.a.i.l.), launched in early 2018, serves the Initiative’s goals, which range from promoting transparency and fighting corruption in the public and private sectors, to advocating for the right to access information. Our select team produced this report by collecting information according to a set of guidelines and principles that fall within the legal framework
We are committed to ethical standards, transparency, and integrity in our work — especially in the process of data collection — so we can gain the confidence of our audiences and provide them with consistent and accurate information. This project will be complete in two phases. In the first, our team collected data by submitting requests to all bodies concerned with the application of the provisions of RLAW, to assess whether public administrations and institutions had actually started to implement the law. After obtaining the official and documented responses, we recorded our findings in this report. Through our unified request, we set out to reveal the following:
1. Was the commitment to “Publication Duty” of some decisions and financial transactions met, in accordance with Law No. 28/2017 – Articles 6, 7 & 8?
2. Was a public electronic platform created to publish administrative decisions, in accordance with Law No. 28/2017 – Article 9?
3. Was an official employee assigned to receive and respond to access to information requests, in accordance with Law No. 28/2017 – Article 15?
In the second phase (to be launched at the end of 2018), our team will request the budgets and revenues of some administrations for the previous fiscal year and compare them with the figures of the general budget (although it is difficult since there is no financial statement ratified for the 2017 budget)
We kicked off the project by mapping all administrations, institutions and public bodies, as well as the mixed and private companies managing public utilities to know which administrations the law applies to. As a result, we knew which branches to communicate with to assess if they are implementing the provisions of RLAW. At the end of our mapping, we found 146 public and private
bodies mandated to abide by RLAW. The following diagram displays Lebanon’s public administrative bodies
After mapping the administrations, we submitted requests for information to 133 administrations. At the beginning of our research, we thought the process would be straightforward since we were not requesting confidential information; we were asking for the fundamentals of RAIP, as in basic information that should be available to everyone.
The information we requested was as follows, the mandatory publishing of some administrative decisions, the administration’s website address, and the name of the information officer. None of this information is confidential and should be available to the public given that this law has been in force for almost a year (when commencing project), which is sufficient time to implement these provisions.