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629 requests, 40% with no reply!

A total number of 629 requests was submitted by the citizens to the public institutions out of which 40% faced the “silence of the administration”, indicates the report on the implementation of the Law on free access to information of public character. The report, according to Nikola Tupancheski, member of the Executive board of the Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia (FOSIM), elaborately lists the results of the monitoring conducted between September 2006 and September 2007. The purpose of the report is to show how the information holders implement the Law i.e. how they respond to certain requests for access to information.  

- This is a good opportunity to make a recapitulation of what is going on one year after the implementation of the Law on free access to information started. The Law was a necessity and we had one year to carry out an analysis, evaluation and to draft comments and suggestions for improvement of the legal regulations – Tupancheski pointed out.  
According to him, there are some serious remarks regarding the indicators for the percentage of requests that did not get any reply from the institutions.

- Although the Law exists for more than one year, there are some technical omissions in it. Some corrections should be made in a legislative sense but also more should be done regarding its implementation. The public administration should improve its rating in providing the requested information and decreasing the percentage of non-replied requests – Tupancheski stressed.
According to Ana Pavlovska, professor at the Faculty of Law in Skopje, the Law needs certain amendments since there are some ommissions and ambiguities in it.

 - Objectively speaking the citizens have no guaranteed access to public information. The first reason for that is the Law itself which does not guarantee it. It is vague, imprecise and creates possibilities for its abuse, while the second reason is that information holders use this law vacuum to avoid replying to the requests for information – says Pavlovska. 

She says that the biggest problem is the public administration. The law contains a solution that makes it legally possible for the institution not to provide the requested information.

Source: Vreme