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Source: Danas

Security-Intelligence Agency has published Operations Information Booklet

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Belgrade - Security-Intelligence Agency (Bezbednosno-informativna agencija - BIA) has published on its Internet site Operations Information Booklet which states that the citizens of Serbia most often request from it information about vacancies, existence of files, salaries of the employees and procurements „in confidential procedure“. The  Information Booklet has, besides the  legal and constitutional framework based on which the SIA works, entitlement to supervise, complete organizational structure of the Serbian secret service has been published, which has never been done before.  Also, it has been stated that SIA has for this year spent from the Serbian budget 2.34 billion dinars, out of the approved 3.34 billion dinars. Last year the Serbian secret service has spent for its work 3.25 billion dinars out of 3.31 billion dinars which have been set aside from the Budget.

The obligation of all state bodies is to publish an Operations Information Booklet, and SIA hasn't done that since passing of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, on November 2, 2004.

Rodoljub Sabic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance greets the move of SIA and stresses that this is one another good result of the talks he had with the new management based on the attitude on SIA towards the obligations from the Law on Free Access to Information. As the Commissioner states, this is the confirmation of their intention to change that, until recently, extremely bad attitude, because SIA has for the first time in four years of effect of the Law fulfilled its obligation and „thus stopped sending to the surroundings ugly message that it has reserved for itself unacceptable exclusive position of someone who is not touched by the laws “.

Belgrade - Security-Intelligence Agency (Bezbednosno-informativna agencija - BIA) has published on its Internet site Operations Information Booklet which states that the citizens of Serbia besides else most often request from SIA information about vacancies, existence of files, salaries of the employees and procurements „in confidential procedure“. The Operations Information Booklet has 12 pages and it has been published, besides quoting the legal and constitutional framework based on which the SIA works, complete organizational structure of the Serbian secret service, which has never been done before.  Also, it is stated that SIA has for this year spent from the Serbian budget 2.34 billion dinars, out of the approved 3.34 billion dinars. Last year the Serbian secret service has spent for its work 3.25 billion dinars out of 3.31 billion dinars which have been set aside from the Budget.  As underlined in the  Operations Information Booklet, „personal file as well as the very information itself, whether there is a file for a certain person, represents a state secret, and revealing such data to uninvited persons shall be considered a criminal act according to the provisions of the Criminal Code, which has to be officially prosecuted“. The Operations Information Booklet also states that „the data whether a person is or was in collaboration relationship with SIA, State Security Department or State Security Service, represents a state secret and revealing such data to uninvited persons shall be considered a criminal act based on provisions of the Criminal Code, which has to be officially prosecuted “.

Since passing of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance on November 2, 2004 the obligation of all state bodies was to publish Operations Information Booklet, but SIA has just now done that. Operations Information Booklet should contain data about organization, managing, responsibility chain, amount of salaries, funds, budget and the method of their use. The Report should also cover annual survey of the given information based on the Law on Free Access to Information.

Rodoljub Sabic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, greets the move of SIA and stresses that this is another good result of the talks he had with the new management, based on the attitude of SIA towards the obligations deriving from the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance.

- This is the confirmation of their intention to change this, until recently very bad attitude.  Publishing of the Operations Information Booklet is the obligation envisaged by the Law for all state authorities. In a normal order of things, executing one of such obligations should not deserve attention, but this time this really deserves it. SIA has for the first time in four years of law effectiveness completed this obligation. Both for it, and for the whole society it is good that it has thus stopped sending ugly message that it has reserved for itself impermissibly exclusive position of an entity above the laws. SIA has made one good step, and I would personally like if that step would be even more energetic, because there was an opportunity to find more information in the Operations Information Booklet, for instance those pertaining to the budget - says Sabic. He also stresses that some of the attitudes in the Operations Information Booklet, pertaining to interpretation of the rule on limitation of transparency, should be slightly corrected in the light of modern standards.

- There could be additional reasons for objections, but this is really not a moment for that. Therefore I would repeat my mark that SIA has made a step in the right direction.  That step sheds almost paradoxical light towards the public. Now the SIA, from which probably no-one expects it to be on the forefront of transparency, has published and updated Operations Information Booklet, and if you browse the state authorities' websites you shall see that many of them still do not have Operations Information Booklets, not to speak about the outdatedness of the published information, even speaking about the highest state authorities.  That means that the attitude towards the public is changing in a difficult and slow way. It is obvious that besides all efforts of the Commissioner for each serious change in this field, it is also necessary to have a strong public pressure - concludes Rodoljub Sabic.