A 2-day conference was held by the Arab Forum for Alternatives and Global Partners Association along with 20 experts and 60 participants among them Toby Mendel ( International expert and United Nations blog on Right to Information) and Andrew Pudephatt ( the Manager of Global Partners Association and the former Manager of Article 19 Association), and Egyptian experts like; Mr. Yehia Hussien (the Manager of Leadership and Management Development Center) , Dr. Maguid Osman ( former Minister of Transportation), Ms. Omnia Hussien ( the Manager of Transparency International Organization in Egypt), Mr. Yasser Abdel-Aziz ( Media Expert), Mr. Mohamed El-Agati ( the Executive Manager of the Arab Forum for Alternatives) , Mr. Wael Gamal ( Economic Researcher and Chief editor at Al-Shorouk Newspaper), Ms. Nashwa Ali (Google representative in Egypt), Mr. Emad Mubarak ( Manager of Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression) , Mr. Helmi Al-Rawy ( Manager of Budgetary and Human Rights Observatory ), Mr. Khaled Dawood ( Manager of Al-Soot Al-Horr Association), Mr. Ahmed Kheir ( Manager of Da’m Association for Technological Support). Discussions were held about Transparency and Open Government from different aspects, the definition, standards, international experience and how it is related to the transitional period towards democracy, right to information and corruption prevention in specific sectors ( media, parliament and civil society)
The outcomes of these discussions were some recommendation to be put into consideration:
1- Legislative level:
– The importance to mention Transparency and Open government in a certain constitutional article or to be referred to the new constitution as an authentic right of Human Rights.
– Working on issuing the right to information law which was presented to The Information Center at the council of ministers by the Civil Society, then to SCAF and what they have reached of compromises and final phrases.
– Categorizing confidential and National Security Information and determining and broadening the circle of people who have access to these kind on information, and setting clear and simple regulations to release these confidential information within a certain frame of time
– Spreading the awareness among the parliamentarians about the importance of Transparency and the Right to Information and how this could be reflected positively on the governmental institutions and on them when it comes to making decisions and policies as a consequence of transparency via the cooperation between civil society and research centers and different governmental institutions through holding seminars and conferences to put these issues on the parliamentarian agenda and on public debate table.
– Law to protecting the information teller and guaranteeing legal protection to journalists, and putting apart “centralism” in running the state administration in addition to changing laws that contradict with transparency and open government measures
– Putting laws and regulations that embed the statement of the neutrality of the administrative body of the state standing at an equal distance from all currents and social strata
– The issue of funding a political parties, groups and civil society organizations and the process of marketing in normal situations and during election, where these parties and associations tell their budget and funds in addition to their expenses and internal procedures of hiring, promoting and other internal administrative issues
2- The professional level:
– Building organizations that get along with the core of the revolution and the change took place, via bridging communication between civil society and different governmental organizations, using the state of the rising public awareness in Egypt and allocate it in the interest of building these associations
– Re-structuring the administrative body of the state and the paths through which, one can get to a certain position preserving procedural justice that is part of justice in its general meaning and that requires Transparency and Right to information
– Rehabilitate employees at information centers and those working on giving information to citizens, to supplement the idea of clarity and transparency of the procedures, setting more fair rules to get these positions and get promotions based on offering services to people and the duration the employees spend serving citizens.
– Civil society associations should present themselves as a role model for transparency and Openness and following transparency measures concerning their funds and expenses.
– Separating ownership from policy editing in newspapers, TV channels and different media means, obliging both public and private media channels to allow information about their funding sources, budget and expenses.
3- The cultural level
– Writing more articles and holding more seminars about the importance of transparency and the right to information, promoting sectors and international experiences that are successful in this field and communicating with political parties and syndicates to change people’s culture towards more transparency.
– Using the revolutionary spirit and looking forward to more knowledge about the nature of the political system, its mechanisms to deal with public employees to supplement the culture of “rights” not “requests” in the issue of circulation of information , via more seminars to underpin and focus on “ what information should we have access to as a genuine right, not a favor the employee makes us , and who is responsible for giving these information? And how to get them?
– Spreading the awareness about the right to information via new technological and paper means of communication at all reachable places.