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Yurij I. Vdovin v. Federal Executive Authorities

Case number:
2-1133/2005
Country:
Russia
Date of decision:
18 October 2005
Court / Arbiter:
Dzerzhinsky District Court of St. Petersburg ( First instance )


Decision:

Federal executive authorities must publish certain information, specified in a government decree, on the Internet.


Keywords:
Budget information
Electronic information (including websites, metadata, email, audio, visual and other records)
Proactive publication obligations
Regulations

Case details:

Facts

In 2005, a citizen of the Russian Federation, Yurij I. Vdovin, applied to the court to (1) declare illegal the inaction of certain federal executive authorities that had not put information about their activities on the Internet, and (2) order these federal authorities to create their own information resources (websites) as required by Government Decree No. 98 of 12 February 2003. This Decree required government and federal executive authorities to post information about their activities on the Internet. The Decree specified the categories of information that had to be posted, the most important of which were the following:

  • Contact information, structure of the organ, information about the chief body of the organ;
  • Acts concerning the scope of activity of the organ and other acts issued by the organ, draft normative acts;
  • Information about official visits and work trips, texts of public speeches of the officials;
  • Official statistics collected by the organ;
  • Information about state purchases;
  • Information about employment opportunities with the organ;
  • Forms for making written requests to the organ.

Federal executive authorities argued that they were not obliged to post the requested information because the Law of 2006 on Access to Information, which required all governmental organs to have their own official websites, had not been adopted.

Decision

The Court declared that according to Decree No. 98 federal executive organs were not obliged to create their own websites (they could use websites of superior bodies instead).

The Court ordered the Federal Protective Service (the only executive authority that did not have its own website at the time and did not use other governmental websites) to create a website and post all required information; and ordered the other federal authorities, that already had a website or used websites of superior bodies, to post all information specified in Government Decree No 98.

This case not only established that there is a constitutional right of access to information but also declared that citizens have a right to access certain information on the Internet.

Resources:

Judgment of the Court.