Source: BorbaThe Commissioner for Information of Public Importance celebrated yesterday three years of work, during which this Office solved almost four hundred cases, mostly complaints.
The Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance was adopted on 2 November 2004, and on 22 December that year Rodoljub Sabic was elected the Commissioner, but the conditions for his normal work were not ensured until 1 July 2005. Since then, 4668 cases, mostly complaints, have been registered and 3928 have been solved. About 90% of those who were previously denied information of public importance received them after addressing the Commissioner for Information, reads the announcement. About 7% complaints were refused or rejected. In several percents of all cases, the statement reads on, when information was not received even after the Commissioner's order, the reason was failure of the Serbian Government to activate mechanisms for enforcing the Commissioner's orders, which is its legal duty. The Commissioner organized a large number of seminars, mostly in cooperation with the civil sector, for education of employees in government bodies, citizens and journalists, and several editions of the guide through the Law were published, including editions on all languages of ethnic minorities. The Catalogue of public authorities with about 11,000 public authorities was also published. On the occasion of the three-year anniversary, Mr. Sabic said statistics showed that he and his associates managed to make a new public authority functional. A good thing was that results had been achieved in inadequate premises, with several times lower number of associates and with considerably lower spending of the budget resources compared to those envisaged. What was bad, however, was that work in inadequate conditions had negative effects on the Commissioner's diligence, said Mr. Sabic . He said that it was hard to understand why this very burdensome, and yet for the state so trivial problem of space had not been resolved for three years. All the more so because the National Program on EU Integration and the Personal Data Protection Bill envisaged considerable extension of powers and further increase of duties of the Commissioner for Information. The attainment of European legal standards is not a matter of nice wishes and stories, but of real life and practice, and this is why it requires necessary administrative capacities and an adequate normative environment, said Mr. Sabic in an interview with the Beta agency. Administrative capacities imply the duty of the Serbian Government to finally, without further delay, provide adequate premises and working conditions for the Commissioner's Office and to activate mechanisms for enforcement of Commissioner's decisions and for liability of those who violate the Law.
The normative environment implies the duty of urgent adoption and actual implementation of several complementary laws, which will largely influence the quality of achievement of freedom of access to information.