Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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Media about FOICA

"Aravot" daily. " For the Sake of Accessibility and Transparency"


By the initiative of “Freedom of Information Center of Armenia” NGO the websites of all 10 ARM regional administrations will be empowered and reformed.
There is no state department in Armenia, which does not have an official website. It’s a different matter, how the virtual departments operate, what it provides, how attractive and accessible it is for both the mass media and ARM citizens and foreigners. According to the statements of the authors writing about ARM regions in “Aravot” daily, having the same structure, the websites of the 10 ARM regions are quite different. The websites of the regional administrations of Shirak, Tavush, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotni and Armavir do have news and interesting data about the region’s life. The website of Vayots Dzor is always accessible. Others are not always accessible for readers from Yerevan. The most inaccessible website is that of Ararat region.
A study of the content and accessibility of the websites of the regional administrations was also conducted by the “Freedom of Information Center of Armenia” NGO. According to the NGO President Shushan Doydoyan, in 2010 they discussed the matter both with the heads of staff of the regional administrations and with the ARM Ministry of Territorial Administration. “We wanted to find out what new mechanisms needed to be installed for regional administrations to voluntarily and more easily make the information under their possession available for the public, instead of waiting for inquiries. Everyone said that today’s websites of the regional administrations did not meet the present demands – from several sections only some are active, and there is little news. Article 7 of the ARM “Law on Freedom of Information” defines 13 groups of information, which are subject to mandatory publication. Those are the budget, forms of written inquiries, lists of staff positions, vacancies, the order of citizen reception, work done for the public, impact on the environment, etc. None of today’s regional administrations has made at least half of this accessible in their website, and this is not so much by their fault, as much because of the limited capabilities of their websites,” – announced Shushan Doydoyan.
Taking these into consideration it was decided to empower and reform the websites of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and regional administrations.
Lecturer of Yerevan State University, specialist on electronic administration, FOICA expert Liana Doydoyan said that the initiative to reform the websites is in the framework of the FOICA “Electronic Administration” program. The AMD 3 million is financed by the USAID. The technical part of the program (website design) will be done by “Helix Consulting” company.

The new websites will include article 7 of the “Law on Freedom of Information”, the 13 groups of information, legal forms of inquiry, and citizens can track their inquiries online. Director of “Helix Consulting” company Aram Mkhitaryan said that, for example, the website of the Ministry of Territorial Administration was designed seven years ago and is now old. Neither the website of the Ministry, nor those of the regional administrations are reflected in search engines like Google. The new websites will not have this shortcoming. “One of the important issues that will be solved is that no technical knowledge will be required for the content management of the websites – the relevant divisions will be capable of managing their sections in the website. The websites will allow subscription, posting videos, audios and photos. Regional administration websites will allow writing letters to any ministry and track its process,” – informed Aram Mkhitaryan.

We told Aram Mkhitaryan that, for example, the website of Ararat regional administration did not open from Yerevan, and he informed, “We are discussing the accessibility issue. If websites are located in Yerevan, then in cases of no internet the website of the regional administration will not be accessible in that specific region. We might locate the websites in regions and through some technical solutions keep its mirror version in Yerevan.”

Liana Doydoyan said that “Freedom of Information Center of Armenia” will not limit itself to providing new websites together with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and regional administrations. It is going to suggest constant care and reforms in the websites.

Aram Zakaryan

By` "Aravot" daily


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