Dissatisfaction with the announcement of the new prohibition on access to information

Introduction of “abuse of the right to free access to information” in the Law on Free Access to Information would mean giving a discretionary right to authority to evaluate motives of the applicant of request for free access to information, Bajramspahić said on the roundtable “Public information must not be secret!”

Dina Bajramspahić, public policy researcher at Institute Alternative, participated in the roundtable “Public information must not be secret!”, organised by Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS). This roundtable was organised with the aim of sharing knowledge and experiences regarding the free access to information. Another reason for organising this type of event was forming of government Working Group for the preparation of Proposal of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information.

During her presentation she pointed out that free access to information represents main tool for work of think tank. However, the practice is that from year to year the IA has a less and less access to information, even for information what was previously publicly available.

Lack of deciding in meritum – making of Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information, the inefficiency of the Agency, lack of deciding in meritum – making of the Administrative Court, the inefficiency of the Administrative Court, the inefficiency of the state authorities in responsing to the requests to free access to information and administrative silence, are just a part of the problems regarding the Law on Free Access to Information, Bajramspahić stated.

Bajramspahić referred to the announced introduction of “abuse of the right to free access to information”, which she thinks would mean giving a discretionary right to authority to evaluate motives of the applicant to request information. Although this has not yet been formally introduced, since there is a lot talk about it, state authorities have already begun to apply it.

Speaking of “myth of being cluttered with requests”, Bajramspahić pointed out that Institute Alternative in last year made a review of decisions and information on requests to free access to information that ministries approved and published on their official websites. After crossing the approved information with the AZLP data, we found that ten ministries, in average, approved three information a month.

The fact that the authorities refuse access to information by claiming that creator of the requested information is other authority, Bajramspahić alleges as additional problem. That is not in accordance with the Law where is defined that the factual possession of information represents the possession of information, to which access has to be approved.

The problem in the work is also that the authorities resort to the concealment of complete information, instead of those deleting parts that contain personal data or contain classified information.

Institute Alternative has prepared 23 recommendation for the improvement of the Law on free access to information.

You can listen the whole presentation in the attachment:

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