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  Saturday, September 21, 2019
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The Russian government has approved a bill on the information openness of state bodies and local authorities
The decision was made following a discussion of the bill, On the Provision of Access to Information about the Activities of State Bodies and Local Bodies of Self-Rule, prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. "Russia occupies an 'honorable' 40th place out of 48 countries for the authorities' information openness and transparency, and is next to Egypt, Syria and China," said German Gref, the Economy and Trade Development Minister. According to him, on February 12, 2003 the government adopted a resolution on citizens' access to information about the activities of the Cabinet. The minister said the public's access to information about the government's activities had increased as a result. According to Gref, as of July 1, 2004 all ministries, as well as half the state's services and agencies, had their own Web sites. A number of sites were available in foreign languages. In 2004, over 2 million people visited the government's official Web site. Gref said more than 480 gigabytes of information, the equivalent of 303 million printed pages, had been downloaded. According to him, the Ministry of Regional Development and the Ministry of Health and Social Development still do not have their own sites. As a result, some people have turned to the courts, as under the law on information openness, any information that is not classified must be made available to citizens either in printed or electronic format, or posted on the Internet. One of the court cases in question is currently being heard. This law will cover all levels and branches of the authority except for the judicial system. According to Gref, only the Supreme Court of Arbitration is ready to make its verdicts available to the public from January 1, 2008. "Other courts are not ready for open information," Gref said. According to the minister, information openness is one of the main instruments in efforts to combat corruption
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