Madrid, 17 April 2020 – Access Info today welcomed the news that Montenegro’s Ministry of Public Administration has decided to halt the public consultation on the controversial reform of the Law on Free Access to Information following a national and international outcry.
Access Info was one of the organisations that jointed the campaign led by Montenegrin transparency specialists MANS calling for the consultation to be postponed, at least for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown, with people confined to their homes and parliamentary sessions are suspended.
“The right to information is particularly important during this pandemic, and it is literally vitally important that the public is able to access full information about the response by the Montenegrin government – by all governments – to the coronavirus,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.
With legislative elections scheduled for later this year – although it is not yet certain whether they will be able to go ahead – it is vital that the Montenegrin public is able to continue monitoring the way in which their government handles the pandemic.
Montenegro also suffers from serious problems of corruption, and the Law on Free Access to Information is an essential tool for civil society and journalists to monitor and expose this corruption.
“We are also very concerned about ongoing efforts to weaken the Law on Free Access to Information, something totally unacceptable for a member of the Open Government Partnership. We hope that the pandemic will help the Montenegrin authorities will see the value of an informed public, and ensure that the right of access to information is protected,” added Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.
Access Info had also supported the calls of Montenegrin civil society for the government of Montenegro to publish all the expert analyses on the Law on Free Access to Information received from European Union experts so that there can be a fully informed debate on the necessity and quality of the proposed amendments. Access Info understands that this has not yet been done, and reiterates the call.
For more information, please contact:
Paula Domínguez, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
Helen Darbishire, Executive Director | Access Info Europe
helen[at]access-info.org +34 637 226 609