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Award for special contribution to free access to information to Transparency Serbia

Transparency Serbia (official chapter of Transparency International) is proud to announce, that on the occasion of International Right to Know Day (September 28th 2015) our organization received Special Award for outstanding contribution inpromoting right to free access to information.

Traditionally, the ceremony was organized by the Commissioner for Free Access to Information of Public Importance and decision made by the commissioner and representatives of two national journalists’ associations, academics and Coalition for free access to information. Commissioner, Mr. RodoljubSabic, handed award to the Transparency Serbia chair, Mr. Vladimir Goati. Mr. Goati in his speech pointed to the importance of access to information as prerequisite in fighting corruption and stressed that the Law on Free Access to Information, during last decade influenced changes in a society and citizens’ minds that were significantly faster than in other areas.

This success is even greater having in mind that this award is normally intended for best performers among the state institutions. This year two government ministries (Education/Science and Youth/Sport) and the Administrative Court were awarded within three respective categories, while non-governmental organization, Transparency Serbia, received this special annual award.

Since its establishing in 2002, Transparency Serbia strongly focused to free access to information. This Law represents basic tool for monitoring in all other issues that TS tackles. We have advocated and participated in drafting of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance in 2004. Afterwards, we promoted implementation of the new Law, before journalists, CSOs, local and state institutions all over the territory of Serbia. Since the 2004 TS sent to the various bodies more than 10.000 requests for free access to information and more than 1.500 appeals, complaints or law suits.

Even if situation improved significantly, Serbian citizens are still facing strong obstacles when exercising right to know. In recent years, Transparency Serbia dedicated its greatest efforts in this field to terminate damaging practice of refraining from publishing of contracts that the Republic of Serbia signs with foreign investors. Another problem we are facing with are attempts to limit right to know through other legislation. Finally, strategic documents, including recently adopted Action Plan for chapter 23, do not envisage sufficient measures to resolve problems in this area.

Transparency Serbia will use this award as incentive to continue promoting pro-active publishing of information and to further promote using of right to know among citizens.

Press Office                                                                                        28th September 2015

Transparency Serbia                                                                            Belgrade