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The proposed amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information, according to which political parties are no longer obliged to give access to their finances, are depriving the public of one of the main weapons in the fight against corruption, stated the non-governmental sector. The government also proposed the introduction of “the abuse of the right to information.” According to the proposal, the institutions would be obliged to prevent the abuse by individuals seeking to exercise their rights “contrary to the purpose of the case or the purpose of the law.”
During a roundtable on the proposed amendments to the law, the EU Ambassador to Montenegro, Aivo Oorav, noted that the EU experts stressed the importance of not introducing the concept of abuse to the Law on Free Access to Information. Orav highlighted that it is of vital importance to amend the law by taking into account all relevant recommendations from the latest European Commission report, as well as from other relevant EU expertise.
“Amongst other recommendations, the EU experts stressed the importance of not introducing the concept of abuse in the Law on Free Access to Information. Now, Montenegro has a chance to prove that it is still the frontrunner in the region by taking this important step in the reform of the rule of law,” said Orav.
The Minister of Public Administration, Suzana Pribilovic, underlined that the government proposed the introduction of an institute of abuse related to the right of access to information in accordance with international standards.
“The institute implies that the relevant authority will have an obligation to prevent any form of abuse of this right by a beneficiary seeking free access to information, contrary to the purpose and goal of the aw,” said Pribilovic.
Anti-corruption NGO MANS urged the government to withdraw the draft
“Through this law you aren't providing the implementation of the Constitution and the rights of citizens but, rather, protecting institutions from citizens. To be more precise, you are protecting corrupt officials from the public's right to know and preventing public from discovering their corrupt affairs,” said MANS Executive Director , Vanja Calovic Markovic.