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Serbia

Access to Information Law (RS0039)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government - MPALSG

Support Institution(s): Administration Special Working group on preparation of the Draft Law Amending the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance Civil sector organisations, private sector, working groups CRTA – Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Legislation & Regulation, Legislature, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

COMMITMENT 12: Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public
Importance
Ongoing - Q2 2019
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government -
MPALSG
Description of Commitment
Problem addressed by the
commitment
The Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance is
currently being revised. The current revision aims to address
certain deficiencies that have been observed in the
implementation of the Law in practice.
The Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
dates back to 2004. The Law has been praised as excellent in
terms of its legislative arrangements, but its implementation in
practice has revealed certain deficiencies. It has been observed
in practice that there is a need to develop the Law in other
directions as well, since certain issues are not properly regulated
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or are not regulated at all. This includes in particular the issue of
proactive publishing of information by the authorities on their
websites, improving and increasing the transparency of data
published in the information booklets, expanding the scope of
persons subject to the law, clarifying the procedure for
appointment and removal from office, administrative
enforcement and other amendments which would
comprehensively regulate the application of the right to access
information of public importantce.
The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance
received a similar number of complaints in 2016 and 2017 –
about 3,500 – mostly in cases of the so-called administrative
silence. This shows that the legal enforcement mechanisms
cannot be fully implemented in practice.
However, the last two years saw progress in this regard, with the
institution of infringement proceedings against a number of
entities.
The Special Working Group on preparation of the Draft Law
Amending the Law on Free Access to Information of Public
Importance was formed on 3 November 2016, and many
meetings have been held with the competent authorities, as well
as with representatives of the Commissioner’s Office, at which
the Draft Law was endorsed. In compliance with the proclaimed
principles of transparency in the passing of regulations and
involvement of the non-governmental sector in the process, a
public consultation was held from 5 and 15 February 2018,
where representatives of the public and civil sectors made more
than 100 suggestions and proposals. A public debate was held
from 22 March to 19 April 2018. It included a Round Table
held on 27 March, which was attended, in addition to the
members of the Special Working Group, also by representatives
of state authorities, economic operators, academia and
professional associations, eminent experts in this field and
representatives of more than 30 civil society organisations.
Many suggestions and proposals were received, and it was
determined upon analysis that they can be grouped around a
certain number of Articles and proposed provisions. Taking into
account the importance of this law in the coming years, all
these comments will be discussed in great detail through written
or direct communication with the participants in the public
debate and the Draft Law will be finished and submitted to the
competent authorities for opinion and then presented to the
Government for adoption.
Main objective The Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
must be amended to ensure respect of the right to access
information and compliance with time limits set by the law. The
duty to proactively publish information shold also be
established.
The future Law on Free Access to Information of Public
Importance must include the following provisions:
1. 1. To ensure efficient oversight of lawfulness of operations of
public administration bodies and other entities subject to
administrative oversight and inspection for violations of the
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right of access to information of public importance, in
compliance with the principle of independence of oversight
authorities and the principles of good governance;
2. 2. To expand the circle of authorites/persons subject to the law,
both newly founded and existing which have not been subject to
the law so far although their sphere of competences requires so;
3. 3. To reduce reasons for rejecting requests because of abuse of
rights specified in the Law, such as frequent submission of
requests and volume of information;
4. 4. To improve the selection procedure and termination of office
of the Commissioner, the position of the Deputy Commisisoner
and the Commissioner’s Office;
5. To introduce the obligation to obtain an opinion of the
Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and
Personal Data Protection in the process of passing laws, to the
extent that those regulations fall within the remit of this
authority;
6. To improve the situation regarding enforcement of decisions
passed by the Commissioner for Information of Public
Importance and Personal Data Protection;
7. To bring the amount of fines in compliance with the Law on
Misdemeanours and to establish a protective mechanism to
ensure the achieved level of freedom of information cannot be
reduced by other regulations;
8. To impose a duty on the authorities subject to this Law to
proactively publish information of public importance
How will this commitment
contribute to problem solving?
Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of
Public Importance would address the issues which arose in the
implementation of this Law in practice. Proper oversight of
implementation of the Law and of the institute of enforcement
of the Commissioner’s decisions would improve the exercise of
the right of access to information and would raise awareness of
the importance of this right among the entities subject to this
Law. In addition, amendments to the Law which would vest the
Commissioner with the power to give opinions in the process of
enactment of laws would ensure that the existing level of
protection of rights is not reduced by other laws and regulations.
Amendments to the Law regarding proactive publishing of
information would help reduce the number of appeals filed to
the Commissioner due to violations of the right to free access to
information of public interest, and improve respect for the right
of access to information, which is also enshrined in the
Constitution.
The way in which this commitment
is relevant to further advancing
OGP values
Improvement in the access to information of public importance
through amendments of the Law will ensure a higher level of
freedom of information, which is also one of the core values of
the Partnership. Also, genuine advocacy of improved public
administration and fight against corruption must entail
transparency in the work of public authorities. The above
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amendments to the Law would ensure that these issues are
properly addressed.
Additional information
Activity with a verifiable
deliverable and completion date
Start Date: End Date:
1. Finalisation of the work on draft
amendments to the Law on Free
Access to Information of Public
Importance
Ongoing Q4 2018
2. Submission of the Draft Law to the
Government for review and adoption of
the Bill
Q1 2019 Q2 2019
Contact information
Name of a responsible person in
the implementing agency
Ivana Antić
Title, Department Assistant Minister, Sector for Human and Minority Rights and
Freedoms
Email and phone number ivana.antic@mduls.gov.rs , 011-2641-495
Other
actors
involved Administration
Special Working group on preparation of the Draft Law
Amending the Law on Free Access to Information of Public
Importance
Civil sector
organisations, private
sector, working
groups
CRTA – Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability


Commitments

  1. Increasing transparency and participation in parliament

    RS0042, 2018, Civic Space

  2. Publishing Budget Law

    RS0028, 2018, E-Government

  3. e-calendar for financing civil society

    RS0029, 2018, E-Government

  4. publish data on environmental protection funds

    RS0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. opening data for public calls for media development

    RS0031, 2018, E-Government

  6. open data reports on CSOs

    RS0032, 2018, E-Government

  7. amending media registration bylaws

    RS0033, 2018, E-Government

  8. Assistance with and monitoring of adoption of LAP

    RS0034, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  9. Updating of electoral roll

    RS0035, 2018, E-Government

  10. ePAPER

    RS0036, 2018, E-Government

  11. e-notice board

    RS0037, 2018, E-Government

  12. Improving proactive transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0038, 2018, E-Government

  13. Access to Information Law

    RS0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. cooperation with CSOs on regulations

    RS0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. e-civic engagement

    RS0041, 2018, E-Government

  16. Develop a Model of Job Description or Part of Job Description of an Officer Responsible for Cooperation with Civil Society in Local Administration

    RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Organise Trainings for Public Administration Officers in Connection with the Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Organise Trainings for CSO in Connection with Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improve the System for Collecting Initiatives from Citizens and Businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Introducing Standards for Civic Participation in the Public Policy Management System

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Improving Proactive Transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  23. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Draft a Bylaw Based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Improve the Institute of Public Hearing in the Drafting of Laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  26. Development of a Uniform Methodology for Planning, Monitoring and Performance Evaluation of Programmes and Projects Implemented by Civil Society Organisations and Monitoring the Spending of Allocated Funds

    RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest Implemented by Associations

    RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  29. Establish a Single Public Register of Administrative Procedures and Other Conditions for Pursuing a Business Activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  30. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  31. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  32. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  33. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  34. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  36. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  37. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  38. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  39. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  40. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  41. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  42. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls