A Critical Assesment of the Role of the Romanian Ombudsman in Promoting Freedom of Information

Laura HOSSU, Radu CARP

Abstract


The paper addresses the topic of the role played by Ombudsman-type institutions in democratic regimes and focuses on how the said institutions approach conflicts that arise in connection to alleged breaches of the citizens’ right to public information. The empirical section of the article, using a mixed method approach, investigates whether and to what extent the Romanian Ombudsman conducts inquiries related to freedom of information. It also tries to assess the efficiency of such inquiries and how public institutions respond to them. As a main conclusion, the authors argue that the means used by the Romanian Ombudsman are rather suitable for long established democracies; they cannot produce the same results in a country which is still recovering from its communist legacy. The existence of a transparent public administration and the respect for the right to information can only be guaranteed if legislators and decision-makers take into account aspects that are embedded in the Romanian political, legal, and administrative system.


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