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The Coalition expresses its concern about the growing non-transparency of institutions

On the occasion of marking the International Day of Access to Information and the Day of the Public's Right to Know, 28 September, the Coalition for Freedom of Access to Information of Public Importance states that the authorities in Serbia are increasingly non-transparent in their work.

The right to access information of public importance is one of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

Last year's amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance did not help solve two critical problems in the exercise of rights, as the Coalition has repeatedly pointed out. Namely, the high number of unexecuted decisions of the Commissioner indicates an irresponsible attitude towards citizens and their rights, as well as the laws that regulate the transparency of the work of government bodies. A significant number of unexecuted decisions relate to information concerning the environment and the disposal of public money. By withholding information, heads of government bodies and other persons are protected from responsibility for their illegal actions and omissions. In addition, the amendments were not used to ensure adequate legal protection when information is withheld by bodies against which a complaint cannot be filed with the Commissioner, among which the Government of the Republic of Serbia is leading the way.

Concerning the region, Serbia stands out as the most closed in terms of the transparency of the Assembly and the Government work, including ministries and other executive authorities, as shown by the Regional Index of Openness. In addition, the results of research on the level of judicial transparency show that the transparency of courts and prosecutor's offices decreases if the subject of the request is information that is interesting to the media and potentially involves public office holders.

Considering the National Assembly's legislative and control competencies and difficulties in accessing information about its work in the previous period, it is essential to improve the transparency of its work and fulfil its control role, thereby ensuring other authorities' transparency. The first step is for the competent parliamentary committees to review the Commissioner's annual report and to determine quality conclusions for solving problems in ​​exercising the right to access information.

The Coalition for Freedom of Access to Information is hosting a public event called "Information is power - strengthening the role of Parliament in improving transparency of the work of authorities". The goal is to emphasise the Assembly's role and responsibility in respecting the right to access information and the responsibility of government bodies, especially the executive branch in law enforcement. Representatives of parliamentary groups, parliamentary committees, independent institutions, and public and civil sectors will attend.

The Coalition for Freedom of Access to Information consists of organisations that deal with issues of transparency, openness and responsibility of public authorities in their work, including Transparency Serbia.