Inadequate implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information

A representative of the NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro attended the conference entitled “Towards Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information, where it was concluded that Montenegro in a precarious position when it comes to respect and application of this law. 

Suzana Pribilović, Minister of Public Administration said that free access to information, basic and fundamental right and that the Government of Montenegro has defined the obligation to change the law on free access to information. She urged the public administration employees that they need to work more on the proactive disclosure of information. According to her, the Ministry of Public Administration seeks to improve the existing legal rules, because they recognize the basic problems in the application of public law.

“Through the improvement of the legislative framework for access to information, the government is ready to make another step forward towards EU membership,” concluded Pribilović.

Anamarija Musa, an expert of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, said that the law should be a tool for citizens to exercise their democratically control of institutions. The goal, she says, that the law is in line with European and international standards and comparative solutions in other countries. Another objective is that the law is clear and precise, ie. landmark for solving certain problems. Musa reminded that we should insist that all information is available on the official websites of government which is not the case. Abuse of rights is Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian, British and other laws and the abolition of taxes is, as pointed out by Musa, one of the objectives of the Act.

Dejan Milenkovic, SIGMA expert noted that the Montenegrin law on access to information is not a law that is not standard. In the Western Balkans, as he claims, there are plenty of good access to information laws, but that example. need that one citizen knows the salary of a civil servant. 

Veselin Radulovic, lawyer of NGO MANS said that what had previously been well significantly exacerbated by changes in the law. In addition Radulovic objections, and to which has been introduced a number of limitations for example. trade secret, which is not in accordance with European standards: neither with the European Court.

Mila Radulovic, Secretary General of the Society of Professional Journalists of Montenegro said that they have the information necessary for creating the texts, it happens that after a year waiting for them. Faced with practices that depend on the good will of the state authorities. The Ministry of Finance and Property Administration can not get any information. Radulovic argues that those of them seeking the names of individuals for which they need information, so that the law makes a mockery. 

Stevo Muk, president of the board of the NGO Alternativa Institute, explained that if you do not get the information within the time prescribed by law, then it is likely that you will not ever get or you get late so that you will not even need it. Muk recalled that they had received a recent decision of the Agency after three years and four months.

Biljana Bozic, Head of the Department for access to information at the Agency for protection of personal data and the free access to information, said that 2013 had 753 complaints, and to this day, the Agency has seized 2,400 complaints, which shows how to apply the practice of law on free approach. Christmas 2015 is a chance to gain experience on the acquisition of rights of free access to information in Croatia and transferred to an experience of Montenegro. She said that the proactive publication of information 90%.

Danijela Nedeljkovic Vukčević, Director General of the Directorate of Public Administration at the Ministry of Public Administration said that should prevent the abuse where it has, because the law is such that it allows to have poor results in practice. The authorities, according to her, should be open and transparent, and it is necessary to raise awareness about the importance of free access to information. 

“The agency is not doing its job because instead to monitor proactively publishing information it has more than 3,000 complaints,” concluded Vukčević.

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