We call on parliamentary parties to submit a proposal to review the constitutionality of the Law on Free Access to Information (ZoSPI), which limits the right of access to public records to a greater extent than envisaged by the Constitution of Montenegro.
Article 51 of the Constitution guarantees that everyone has the right to access information held by public bodies and organizations exercising public authority and that this right can be restricted only if it is in the interest of protecting a life, public health, morality and privacy, criminal proceedings, security and defense of Montenegro, foreign, monetary and economic policy. Contrary to these provisions of the Constitution, ZoSPI amendments have introduced the possibility of limiting access to information that depends on the free will of the authorities and whether the deem a document secret.
The ZoSPI amendments allow that the constitutional right of access to information is arbitrarily restricted by any state authority and in any field, not just those that are prescribed by the Constitution. In this way, the amended ZoSPI provides more restrictions to the access to information than the Constitution, which violates the highest legal act, as well as a number of international conventions governing this area.
These amendments, adopted at the proposal of DPS MPs, imply that access to any information which the public authority chooses to designate as confidential will not be allowed under ZoSPI. At the same time, the judicial control is disabled in any case when the authority arbitrarily and without any explanation declares data confidential.
In this way, there is s a huge possibility of limiting access to information in order to conceal the abuse, corruption and other crimes. This is particularly problematic when one considers that the authorities already have a tradition of violating the law in such manner, which hundreds of court judgments can confirm.
Therefore, we believe that such a legislation will suit exclusively to corrupt officials to hide their illegal work, and that is the reason it has been enacted.
We therefore urge MPs of all parliamentary parties to initiate proceedings to assess the constitutionality of the ZoSPI provision that has no legal basis neither in the Constitution, nor in international legislation.