The Law on Free Access to Information should be made transparent

A representative of NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro attended the conference on the upcoming amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information held at the Centre Ville Hotel in Podgorica where it was concluded that the government should make more efforts on transparency and the implementation of this law.

Aivo Orav, the EU ambassador to Montenegro, has said that access to information is a fundamental right in the Montenegrin constitution, which is also important for Montenegro’s EU accession. According to him, free access to information contributes to better decision-making and increases transparency especially in corruption. Orav also pointed out that commitment to transparency can not be negotiated because it is something that must be fulfilled.

Helen Derbyshire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe, pointed out that the right to free access to information was recognized as a fundamental right recognized by the human rights courts. She noted that in practice, information is not released because of what the state is going back and not forward and therefore the law has to be reformed. Derbyshire also said that if there is a problem with the implementation of decisions, the system of introducing sanctions should be applied.

Vanja Ćalović, director of MANS, said that the government and institutions are hiding data that were available in 2005. According to her, all secret deposits are declared by the city as secret, as all privatizations. Ćalović recalled that the names of the judges to whom the apartments were paid from our couples were also a state secret. In addition, nothing can be learned about the smuggling of cigarettes and murders that took place due to smuggling.

“If someone wanted to find out what Milo Đukanović had from public property, he would have to pay several thousand euros to get this information,” Ćalović pointed out.

Ćalović said that there was no political will, that is, the government is not sincere in this process, because the law on secrecy of data would not exist.

Aleksa Ivanović, a member of the Council of the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data and Free Access to Information, said that everything started from the correct access to information. Ivanović recalled that it is often obligatory for those who prepare this document to explain to the citizens what is contained in that document, because what is written is not clear to all citizens.

Nikolina Mišnić, a contributor to the legal program of the Network for Affirmation of the NGO Sector, noted that the law has a number of problems because the term business secret is not prescribed by law. Mišnić pointed out that the rules on business secret prescribed that everything falls into a business secret prescribed by the agency. She also criticized the fact that the Investment Development Fund claims that there is no public interest, and there is also an example where the state company has limited access to budget access.

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