Around the world, September 28th is marked as the International Day for free access to information. Although the Law on Free Access to Information in Montenegro exists for many years, it seems that the Montenegrin institutions have not yet recognized the importance of information disclosure, especially in areas vulnerable and susceptible to corruption.
Namely, it is worrying that the Montenegrin public still can not access certain information on spending the state budget. Information on the realization of budget items from permanent and current budget reserve, whose realization is primarily monitored by the Ministry of Finance, are continuously hidden from the public eye. Access to data on the funds channeled to Centers for social work, which according to the established method are usually activated in pre-election period, also play “sensitive” topic for the line ministry. This is especially problematic when one takes into account that these particular funds were mentioned as a key way of buying votes during the election period within the affair “Snapshot”.
The Law on free access to information is flagrantly violated and when it comes to building highway Bar-Boljare. Access to information on the realization of one of the largest projects in the history of Montenegro has been denied to Montenegrin citizens, although this case is undoubtedly an overriding public interest that in every moment “know” and to be informed on the decisions taken by the Government of Montenegro on their behalf.
The public documents relating to the privatization of state-owned enterprises as well as the realization of important projects such as the evaluation of site Buljarica still leaves room for concern, where we do not notice any positive development and the intention of the state institutions, primarily the Privatization Council, to make these areas transparent.
These actions seriously demolish the foundations of democracy in Montenegro, because we are talking about the right guaranteed by the Constitution and numerous international Conventions. Guaranteeing this right allows citizens to exercise control over the work of institutions, to monitor the decisions made on their behalf, and that the transparency and quality of the institutions in general are at a higher level.
In many countries, this law serves to citizens and civil society as a powerful tool in detecting and combating corruption, and therefore we believe that Montenegrin public must take an active role in control of the state institutions.
In order to promote the importance of free access to information, MANS on its website ( http://www.mans.co.me/pitajte-institucije/) made the online form for filing requirements. In this way, all interested citizens have the opportunity to apply for free access to information through this system. Once our legal team carry out the procedure and obtain a response from the authorities, interested citizens will be informed about the final outcome of their application.
Coordinator of the Legal program