Commissioner marks International Right to Know Day 2022

“The administrative silence” ruins the reputation, not only of that authority but also of the state itself.

Photo: Commissioner Milan Marinović

Since the implementation of the adopted amendments to the Law, with the very announcement of the issuing of misdemeanor orders by the Commissioner, the administrative silence has been reduced from 80% to 35%. The long-term effects of these changes are to be seen only a year from now. Also, the amendments to the Law made the opening of regional offices possible. We will open the first one in Novi Sad next month, and in Nis and Kragujevac by the end of this year,” said Commissioner Milan Marinović in his opening speech today, during the celebration of the International Right to Know Day 2022.

Representatives of foreign delegations also took part in the introductory presentation: the head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia Mrs. Sarah Groen, Head of the Council of Europe Mission in Belgrade Mr. Tobias Flessenkemper and USAID Mission Director in Serbia Mrs. Brooke Isham. They exchanged opinions on the adopted amendments to the Law, unanimously stressing that free access to information is a prerequisite for the accountable work of public authorities.

On this occasion, awards were conferred on authorities for the significant improvement of the right to free access to information in 2022. In the category of republic authorities, the award was conferred on the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, in the category of judicial authorities on the Higher Court in Novi Sad, in the category of provincial authorities on the Directorate for Commodity Reserves of AP Vojvodina, and for the best Information Booklet on the Ministry of Culture and Information. In the category of local public authorities, the winners for the first time are two local self-government units – the City of Subotica and the City of Kruševac. No award was given in the category of the highest state authorities, nor was there a special recognition for the greatest contribution to the affirmation of the right to access to information.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Marinović pointed out the distressingly low response of the authorities who registered and published their Information Booklet on the platform managed and maintained by the Commissioner. Of the estimated 15,000 authorities, only 450 registered, of which only 30 published the Information Booklet. He also recalled the 16th of November as an important date to remember because that is when the legal deadline to publish Information Booklet on the mentioned platform expires. If the authorities do not fulfill their obligations by then, the Commissioner will use its legal authority and initiate misdemeanor proceedings against the managers of those authorities. A prescribed fine for those violations is 20,000 to 100,000 dinars. Authorities will also benefit from this platform, because the more information they publish, the fewer requests for free access to information of public importance they will have.

On this occasion, the Unified Information System of Information Booklets and the XI publication “Attitudes and Opinions of the Commissioner”  were presented.

The Office of the Commissioner organizes this Day in cooperation with the OSCE Mission in Serbia. A recording of the event can be viewed on the Commissioner’s official YouTube channel .

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