Despite the new GCO (Government Control Office) decree reports are still inaccessible

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) has taken the Government Control Office to court to make public their report analyzing the failure on the reform of the public administration. The Metropolitan Court has dismissed the HCLU’s action on the liberty to appeal.

Although, according to the ruling, GCO is considered a state organization which has an idependent legal personality and is structurally seperated from the cabinet, it’s activity is specifically aimed at supporting the government in decision-making procedures, therefore the reports to the government already completed and delivered are not public.

In 2005 the Officer for Data Protection and Freedom of Information published a proposal to revoke the governmental decree regarding the classification of the GCO reports. In December of 2006 a new governmental decree on the operation of the GCO was adopted which also re-regulates this matter. However, the first instance decision of the court is clear: GCO reports are still inaccessible.

HCLU has two goals with the current proceeding: firstly, we firmly believe that the administrative reform and it’s incapacitative factors are an important and significant matter of public interest. Second, the very operation of the GCO is an important issue as well, as the GCO, among others is responsible for monitoring the spending of public funds.

If none of the government organization’s reports monitoring public funds are accessible, then not only the constitutional right to Freedom of Information can be forgotten, but the fight against corruption is also in vain.

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