On International Anti-Corruption Day, NGOs Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS), Human Rights Action (HRA), the Institute Alternative (IA), the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI) and the Center for Civil Liberties (CEGAS), submitted draft amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information to the Ministry of Public Administration.
This is the first anti-corruption law proposed to the new government with the aim of enabling citizens, the media and the NGO sector to play a more active role in fighting corruption and controlling the work of the government.
We urge the Minister Tamara Srzentić to accept our proposals and schedule a public debate as soon as possible, in order for this law to be urgently harmonised with international standards.
The European Commission and numerous international institutions have repeatedly pointed out the need to amend this Law, especially emphasising the importance of access to information that may indicate corruption and unlawful work of institutions.
The proposed draft repeals a number of legal provisions introduced by the former government in order to declare thousands of documents of public importance state or business secrets.
The draft proposes new and more precise definitions of the terms information and harm and public interest test, harmonised with international standards, and prescribes more precisely the conditions under which data can be declared secret.
It is envisaged for the institutions and other reporting entities under the law to publish much more information on their websites, especially on spending of their budgets.
The competencies of the second instance body have been strengthened to control the accuracy of allegations of the institutions that they do not have the requested data, as well as to ensure the implementation of decisions.
The new Government has repeatedly stated that its work would be transparent, so we expect that it will be ready to propose amendments to this law as soon as possible, as a clear message that it is willing to break with the current practice of withholding information of public interest.
NGO Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector – MANS
NGO Human Rights Action – HRA
NGO Institute Alternative – IA
Centre for Monitoring and Research – CEMI
Center for Civil Liberties – CEGAS