New grounds for NGO audits

The Ministry of Justice proposes that NGOs
be audited if representations are received from the media



bill placed on the ministry’s website on 29 January contains a proposal for
extending the list of grounds for undertaking unscheduled audits of NGOs
including those having the status of ‘foreign agent’. Expiry of the period of
time for remedying a breach of the law specified in a cautionary notice issued
to an NGO or information provided by the authorities about violations of the
law committed by an organisation would constitute such additional grounds for
requiring an audit. The ministry would also be entitled to act if the media or
a citizen alleges that there is evidence of extremism. The introduction of such
provisions by the ministry would make the legislation on NGOs harsher. If the
amendments are adopted audits might also be commissioned by the president or
the government.



Miloslavskaya, member of the public chamber and director of the international
non-commercial law centre in Russia, ‘does not support the introduction of
additional grounds for unscheduled audits’, the more so as ‘they would
duplicate grounds already contained in existing legislation’. She told ASI that
the ministry had advanced similar proposals previously. The initiative had been
contained in a package of measures concerned with increasing government control
considered in 2011. At that stage the deputies had rejected it but the ministry
was now having another try. Ms Miloslavskaya takes the view that the text
raises many questions of substance. ‘It would be sensible to carry out a public
discussion of these proposed amendments and make suggestions to the ministry
arising out of that’, she concluded.



dean of the law faculty at Moscow State University, Elena Abrosimova, agrees
that information emanating from the media should be taken into consideration
but thinks that publications in the media often bear no relation to reality.
‘This is because journalists are often not professionally qualified in the
subjects they are writing about. Sometimes they publicise material which they
have not investigated satisfactorily. This can result in serious damage being
caused to an NGO’s reputation’, she asserted in her interview with ASI. ‘When
the media were discussing amendments to the NGOs Law last summer, many NGOs
suffered damage to their reputation’.





Get involved

Share This