International Day for Universal Access to Information – Montenegro is still a country of many secrets


At the end of 2020, MANS and a coalition of NGOs submitted a draft amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information (the Law on FAI) to the new government, which was supposed to mark a break with the previous practice of withholding data from citizens, and lay a strong foundation for increasing transparency and accountability in the work of state bodies.


Three years later, Montenegro welcomes another International Day for Universal Access to Information with the old law from the dark era of Đukanović`s regime, but also with the every-day practice by which the new ruling majority confirms the lack of political will for radical reforms in this area.



Although the free access to information is globally recognized as one of the most efficient tools for prevention, and especially for the fight against corruption, after taking over the key levers of government, the pre-election promises of the former opposition are yet to be translated into action.


Thus, the public in Montenegro is still waiting for answers to the questions about the semi-private flights of Prime Minister Dritan Abazović by state aircraft, we still do not know what the salaries of the management of Montenegrin Electric Enterprise are, as well as under what conditions the Coal Mine Pljevlja exports coal to Serbia. The amount Air Montenegro pays for expenses of consultants and business premises are a secret, and before every elections, spending of the budget reserve is still marked as “secret”.


Unfortunately, this is only part of the concrete examples that confirm that the practice of withholding information from the public continued even after the fall of the Đukanović’s regime, and that the promised changes did not happen in the very areas that were supposed to increase the control of the government by citizens and the media.


Today, on the International Day for Universal Access to Information, we can state that three years later, the so-called transition to a democratic society in this area is still at the very beginning, and that the political elite that makes up the new government has not yet shown enough seriousness and commitment to the public`s right to know.


Nevertheless, what is encouraging is the fact that the number of users of free access to information is growing year in, year out, especially among citizens and journalists. For this reason, together with other NGOs, MANS will continue to insist on improving the legal framework and abandoning the current practice of withholding information from the public, especially those that may indicate corruption.



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