Freedom of information
Since the adoption of the first Freedom of Information (FOI) Law in Montenegro in 2005, MANS has been monitoring implementation of this key anti-corruption piece of legislation and has extensively used it to obtain data which support our operations, especially in relation to the investigation of concrete cases of corruption and organized crime. We also provide free legal assistance to citizens, NGOs and journalists to obtain information.
In the 2005 – 2014 period, we submitted 75 thousand FOI requests, over 22 thousand complaints to the responsible authorities and over 9.5 thousand appeals to the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court.
In 2014, MANS submitted over 15,000 FOI requests. In every third case, access to information was granted.
During this year we submitted over 6,000 complaints to the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Freedom of Information. The Agency decided in less than half of complaints, and in over 90% of cases their decisions were in favor of transparency.
MANS submitted over 160 complaints to the Administrative Court. They have decides in one third of cases, and 60% of decisions were in our favor.
We developed capacities of five NGOs to use FOI Law to be able to monitor implementation of laws and policies, and operations of various institutions.
Throughout 2014 we assisted them in using all available legal mechanisms to obtain information and they submitted over 600 FOI requests and 200 complaints to the Agency. Through our cooperation, those NGOs established effective monitoring in the field of their operations, using credible official information obtained through FOI requests.
NGO MogUL monitored illegal building in the south coastal zone of Montenegro and expenditures of the institution responsible for the management of the coastal line zone. NGO Stecajci monitored privatization process in the northern region, with special emphasis on the privatization through liquidation of state-owned companies.
NGO Women’s Safe House monitored operations of the implementation of law in the area of trafficking of human beings. NGO Youth Association performed monitoring of the financial management of the University of Montenegro.
NGO Breznica monitored environmental situation and pollution in the most endangered Montenegrin municipality in the north – Pljevlja
Their findings were published in 10 monitoring reports which pointed out key deficiencies in specific fields, and provided recommendations for improvements. We also assisted our partners in distributing these reports to stakeholders.
In cooperation with MANS, those NGOs submitted four initiatives to the Parliament asking for changes of concrete laws, policies and practices which have shown to be ineffective or inadequate during the monitoring process.
We also held four trainings for 25 other NGOs and journalists to present them with basics in implementation of the FOI Law.
Free legal aid to citizens
Throughout the year we provided citizens with free legal advice in reporting corruption.
We maintained the SOS phone line, online forum and a special online platform (www.prijavikorupciju.me) and android application, and organized meetings with citizens.
During 2014, we received 763 reports from citizens, over than 50% more than in 2013.
We processed over 550 cases, submitted over 100 criminal complaints and 37 initiatives to different responsible institutions.
We provided citizens with free legal assistance in obtaining information from responsible institutions, reported cases to relevant inspections, police and the Prosecutor’s Office.
The table below shows the structure of reports by different areas.
Cases involving high level officials were presented in the media and we advocated for changes in the existing laws and/or practices as well as for prompt reaction of responsible institutions.
Also, we provided legal assistance for former employees of the factory “Radoje Dakic” in Podgorica to submit an initiative to the National Parliament in their efforts to receive their salaries from the state od Montengero.
This initiative covered about 1.800 former employees. During this year we put emphasis on security of citizens reporting corruption.
We developed a special online platform based on Ushahidi, where user’s information is completely protected because all information is encrypted and sent to a special server at a safe location.