2. Introduction of the Openness Committee in Denmark (Åbenhedskomitéen)
The Openness Committee is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for citizens rights and is independent of economical and party-political interests. The committee supports freedom of information (FIO).
The Committee works for real transparency in both Denmark and EU. The work is initiated in the law of access in public administration and the law of Administration and the concept "good administration-praxis". Later is the work of the Committee expanded to include public access to meetings in municipalities as for instance described in the law of goberning the municipalities and to include plublic acces to the in public planing as for instance described in the law physical public planing.
The Committee has the opinion, that clarity is essential to make a society without abuse of power and corruption.
The Committee works to alter and improve the law in areas like:
The Committee advises citizens about the process of getting access to cases in public administration, traps in the process of getting access and possibilities to make a complain over bad treatment in the process of access. We give to examples of have to request access to public administration. Furthermore we give a number of useful references to relevant parts of public administration, party-political positions to transparency, debate in the media and in the Parliament.
The Committee has done a survey of all 275 municipalities in Denmark about the degree of implementation of parts of the law of access in public administration and the law of Administration and the concept "good administration-praxis". Our experiences show that it is essential that the citizens have an opponent roll to the praxis in the municipalities and to the praxis in the National Association of Municipalities in Denmark. They have to long set the agenda about how to praxis in the municipalities. Until now the citizens have no part in the agenda at all.
It is the view of the Committee that the municipalities exclusively (solely) attach importance to "information" to the citizens, that means they prefer a edited reality or controlled transparency, where the municipalities decides, what the citizens is aloud to know. Some of the means used by the municipalities to make an impression of transparency are edited mail-lists, homepages contenting only service information and edited news for the local papers (advertising papers). The municipalities should not be the only part to set the level of agenda in regard to access to cases in public administration. The importance of the area of municipalities shall be seen in the light of the fact that the municipalities administrate 60-70 % of the Tax income in Denmark.
The Committee has asked to be heard whenever the Parliament tries to change of the law of access in public administration and the law of Administration. In the period since the to laws came in to force in 1987 the politicians in power repeatedly has reduced the reach of the law through special laws that effects the law of access in public administration and the law of Administration. The reduction has been carried through in "secrecy" and without hearing the parts, the citizens and the press, for which the laws were made.
The Committee is open for constructive critic. Please send your opinion about our work at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Back to Front-page
To previous section: 01. The Basis for Working-ideas in the Openness Committee
To next section: 03. The Articles of the Openness Committee