Preserving the Achieved Level of the Public’s Right to Know
On April 24, Partners Serbia organized a final conference within the project Initiative for Transparent Information on Public Officials supported by the Open Society Foundation, Serbia. The aim of the Conference was to present the results of the Project, as well as to initiate a dialogue on improving the legal framework in the area of free access to information of public importance.
The first panel of the Conference was dedicated to the recently initiated process of amending the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance. The panelists were Biljana Tamburkovski Baković, Judge of the Administrative Court, Slavoljupka Pavlović, Assistant Secretary General at Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Ivan Radojević, Senior Researcher at Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA), Stevan Dojčinović, Director and Editor-in-Chief of Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK), Miodrag Milosavljević representativ of Open Society Foundation Serbia, and Ana Toskić, Executive Director of Partners Serbia. All panelists agreed that some changes from the Draft of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance (The Law), which was prepared by Ministry of the Public Administration and Local Self-Government (Ministry), are endangering the achieved level of public right to know. Panelists also hope that the Ministry will accept the submitted comments and recommendations during the public hearing, which are related to the key shortcomings of the Draft of The Law.
The second panel was dedicated to presentation of the Project results, with panelists Uroš Mišljenović, Project Manager in Partners Serbia, and Jelena Kleut, PhD, who presented the analysis of the privacy limits of public officials. The publication Public Function – A Private Matter? is available HERE (in Serbian).
The research concludes that the right to privacy is often used as an excuse to protect public officials from legitimate public criticism and reviewing their competencies and quality of work.
Also, the analysis of media practice shows that the lack of interest of the media to report is in proportion to the political power of politicians and public officials, and that they often have much more right to privacy then their fellow citizens.
Partners Serbia once again thank all panelists for the constructive dialogue, as well as all participants who contributed by participating in the discussion.