Instead of recognizing that the adopted amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information represent a giant step backwards when it comes to transparency and are contrary to the European standards, a MP of the Democratic Party of Socialists, Marta Scepanovic, is again defending the interests of corrupt public officials.
DPS MPs have proposed amendments to the law without having consulted professionals, without the involvement and without the knowledge of relevant institutions and the non-governmental sectors, as well as without the opinion of experts of the European Commission.
The fact that the Parliament discussed the issue for 12 minutes, with none of the involved persons ever mentioning the DPS amendments, proves that the intention of the ruling party was to adopt the controversial amendments away from the public eye. Neither the government representative, Zeljko Rutovic, when presenting the amendments to the law, nor Bogdan Fatic of the DPS, the only MP who spoke, said a word about it. They only spoke about amendments related to the reuse of information.
The Committee Rapporteurs that Scepanovic mentioned, who proposed the amendments, published on the Parliament website without any explanation, did not want to speak at the Parliament sitting.
The irony lies in the fact that the parliamentary debate was led by Branimir Gvozdenovic, who had earlier, as a minister, brutally violated the law in cases of multi-million jobs, for the consequences of which the citizens are still paying, as confirmed by numerous court rulings.
The amendments of the DPS MPs provide that the law does not apply to data that are declared secret, which abolishes judicial control and allows the government to declare a secret whatever they want without any verification. At the same time, the amendments annul the article which previously obliged the Agency for Free Access to Information to make decisions on the merits, or to decide whether the access to the requested information is allowed, and thus break the vicious cycle.
Therefore, Scepanovic’s statement is not only false, but hypocritical as well, because the DPS’s amendments have certainly not increased the efficiency of the procedure. Moreover, when the amendments are put into the context of the current practice of the executive power, which is already trying to hide those activities that consume huge amount of the citizens’ money, it is obvious that the amendments have been adopted in order to protect corrupt officials and their dirty work, to the detriment of the citizens and the state.