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Transparent on amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

On the occasion of reopening the process of amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, The Coalition for Freedom of Access to Information submitted a request to the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government asking to put forward all information on this process, including the work plan of the Working Group.

A month ago, the work on amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance began in a non-transparent manner without involving the public in this process. The officials announced then that the process will be completed in a very short period of time, i.e. by the end of the first quarter of this year. The Ministry has established a Special Working Group, chaired by the State Secretary of the ministry. The group consists exclusively of the representatives of government bodies, including the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection. This composition of the Working Group, as well as the short deadlines for the completion of the process, may affect the quality of the proposed solutions and the public debate for the draft law.

As a reminder, in 2018 the Coalition for Freedom of Access to Information launched a campaign to protect the public right to know - "SrbijaDoInformacija", reacting to the Government’s proposed changes to this law that would essentially prevent citizens from exercising this right. The coalition already pointed out at that time the very harmful provisions of the draft law on amendments, which narrowed the circle of subjects to the law, with the formally difficult procedure of obtaining information in cases where the institution does not act upon the request of citizens. Regarding the announcements of amendments to the law, the Coalition for Access to Justice requested from the Ministry to hold a public hearing after the working group ends it task. It was confirmed in the response of the Ministry.

The right to access information, a granted human right by the constitution, is crucial for the exercise of other rights and democratic control of the work of all government bodies and the determination of the responsibilities of holders of public office. At the same time, the proper exercise of this right enables the authorities to act responsibly with information and to document their work, and thus fulfil their role.

Članice Koalicije za slobodu pristupa informacijama:

Belgrade Centre for Security Policy

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights

CRTA

Open Society Foundation

Civic Initiatives

Youth Initiative for Human Rights

The Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights YUCOM

Committee for Human Right Niš

Partners for Democratic Change Serbia

PRAXIS

SHARE Foundation

Toplicki Centre for Democracy and Human Rights

Transparency Serbia

Citizens' Association "Sretenje", Požega

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