There is a real need of changing the Law for Free Access to Public Information although its implementation is more problematic than the law itself – was concluded at today’s public debate for the law organized by the Ministry of Justice.
Laws should be changed within the deadlines, with the exception that information is not given, and the jurisdiction the Commission has for the protection of this right, it was said at the debate held in Skopje.
According to the statistical figures presented, the administration mostly avoids this right when it comes to the media.
“If journalists ask questions, the response rate from the administration is approximately 37 %. If citizens do that, then the response rate is 50 %, and if a non-government organization is asking, the administration answers to over 70% cases,” stated German Filkov from the Centre for Civil Initiatives, highlighting their great experiences, because they annually raise about 1000 questions to institutions and holders of public information.
Figures show that there is a need for changing the law, stated Tamara Chausidis of the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), reminding that SSNM and four other journalist organizations sent an official request to the government months ago.
The president of the Commission for the Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information, Gjorgji Slamkov, stated that the Commission has its own grievances of the law, which he separated into three parts – normative part of the law, deadlines for action and the competencies of the Commission and the capacities of the Commission alone.
He stressed that the Commission was only left with three members, and in order to meet the deadlines of the law and due to the huge number of requests, they hold sessions every week throughout the whole year.
Slamkov noted that in terms of the administration, the figure which speaks the most, is from 700 appeals during the year, over 500 concerned silence from the institutions.
The text is made within the framework of the project “Media Reform Observatory”, implemented by the Foundation for Internet and Society Metamorphosis, “Agora” Center for Promoting Civil Values and the Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analyzes – PINA, with the financial support of the “Foundation Open” Society – Macedonia “. The content of the text is the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be considered to reflect the views of the “Open Society Foundation – Macedonia”.