The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance demanded once again that the Government passes a regulation which would prescribe a fee sheet, which government bodies would use to calculate expense fees for copies of documents, which are delivered to the citizens or media upon request.
It is, in fact, about making the provision of the Article 17 of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance operational. It stipulates, among other things, that “a copy of the document which comprises desired information is issued with the seeker's obligation to pay the necessary expenses fee”, and that the “Government of the Republic of Serbia prescribes a fee sheet” based on which all expenses are calculated.
The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance directed the same initiative to the Serbian Government in mid March this year. In relation to the repeated initiative the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance made the following statement:
„It is important that the Government of the Republic of Serbia passes a by-law stipulated in the Article 17 of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance.
It is not just about an abstract reason to complete the normative legal frame for implementation of this Law, but there are concrete reasons in terms of violation of legally guaranteed rights of the citizens and the media. In lack of a regulation, there is a possibility of uneven practice of charging fees. There have been recorded certain cases of charging fees considerably above the “necessary expenses”, as well as cases when the access to information was conditioned or denied when a party refuses to provide such a fee. This practice, contrary to the elementary principles on which the Law is based, we must not tolerate.
It is my hope that the Government of the Republic of Serbia will soon pass the necessary regulation. I am of the opinion that the regulation must be in the function of easier and not harder consummation of the right arising from this Law. Therefore, I think that it would be good if the regulation stipulates that in cases of small amounts the fee is not charged at all, and that in other cases it is on the level of actual necessary expenses.“