The meeting dedicated to celebration of the International Right to Know Day, 28 September was held today at the Media Centre in Belgrade with participation of a large number of representatives of media, NGOs, government bodies and diplomatic chorus members. Addresses were made by: representative of the Governement Mr Milan Marković, Minister of State Administration and Local Self-government, Deputy of the Ambassador of OSCE Mission in Serbia Mr Tomas Mor, Saša Janković, Ombudsman, Nadežda Gaće, President of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia, Jadranka Jelincic on behalf of the Open Society Fund and Rodoljub Šabić, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection.
In connection with the celebration of the International Right to Know Day, Commissioner Rodoljub Šabić said the following:
"It is well known that there are many problems in the implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information. There are results but not enough to be satisfied. Still, on this day, which is celebrated in a similar way in more than hundred countries in the world it makes sense to give credit to the efforts and results of government bodies which improve their public relations.
Overall, given the structure of the government, the efforts made and results achieved in improved implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information fall below what is necessary and feasible. We are thus missing an opportunity to produce better results in further democratization, establishment of better relationships in the media sphere and especially in combating idleness, abuse, crime and corruption. This is exactly why the examples of these public authorities, which show that they see the freedom of access to information not as an imposed obligation, but rather as the normal relationship between the government and the public in a democratic society, deserve full acclaim."
On that occasion, the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, Mr. Rodoljub Šabić, presented the president of the Fifth Municipal Court in Belgrade Mrs. Milica Popovic-Djurickovic, with an award for outstanding contribution to the exercise of freedom of access to information, which the award committee granted to that Court. The representatives of the National Assembly, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Provincial Secretariat for social politics and demography and the city of Valjevo received awards for contribution to the exercise of freedom of access to information.
The award committee, comprising representatives of a number of non-governmental organizations and journalists' associations selected the recipients among 16 short-listed public authorities. These included: National Assembly, Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia, Fifth Municipal Court in Belgrade, Supreme Commercial Court, First Municipal Court in Belgrade, Municipal Court in Nis, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government, Provincial Secretariat for Social Politics and Demography, cities of Valjevo, Zrenjanin, Sabac, Smederevo and Pozarevac and municipality of Ub.