We are urging the Ministry of Public Administration to postpone public debate on the Law on Free Access to Information after the coronavirus pandemicand to publish opinions of the European Union experts on that regulation.
We believe that it is inappropriate momentfor the Ministry to organize a public debate on the constitutional right of citizens to access to information, when they are locked in their homes and when there are no sessions of the Parliament, and it is not certain when the sittings of the ordinary sessions will resume due to extraordinary measures.
A few days ago, the Ministry announced that it was putting the proposed draft amendments to the public re-hearing and requested written comments by 4 April.
Such case is an unprecedented example of misuse of a public debate institute, especially given that the Law in no way falls under the category of laws that need to be urgently amended, particularly in the period of unprecedented crisis and on the verge of the state of emergency.
Moreover, the law has been sharply criticized by numerous journalists, representatives of the non-governmental sector, as well as international experts. Despite this, the Ministry is now, in the midst of a pandemic, trying to simulate a public debate on the law.
There is virtually no public space for discussion that this law deserves, and it is inappropriate to create it by force in a climate of collective fear of an impending epidemic.
Bearing in mind that the Law on Free Access to Information is a key tool for investigative journalists and NGOs that monitor the work of state bodies, it is particularly worrying that this law is amended in this way, several months before the parliamentary elections.
It is precisely the situation with the coronavirus pandemic that shows how important it is for public informing to be based on official and verified data, leaving minimal space for fake news and unverified information.
Because of all this, we urge the Ministry to publish all opinions of international experts given on the draft amendments to this law, because it is their obligation stipulated precisely by this law.
Lastly, we urge the Ministry to postpone the public debate on the law defining the right of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution and numerous international conventions, as long as the Government’s measures restricting the movement of citizens are in force.
The undersigned NGOs and journalists:
NVO Mreža za afirmaciju nevladinog sektora – MANS
NVO Akcija za ljudska prava HRA
NVO Institut alternativa
NVO Centar za monitoring i istraživanja – CEMI
NVO Centar za građanske slobode – CEGAS
NVO Centar za demokratsku tranziciju – CDT
Centar za istraživačko novinarstvo Crne Gore CIN-CG
NVO Centar za demokratiju i ljudska prava – CEDEM
NVO 35 mm
Ekološki pokret OZON
NVO Centar za zaštitu i proučavanje ptica – CZIP
NVO Green Home
NVO Media centar
NVU Centar za ženska prava – CŽP
NVO Mladi Romi
NVO Evropska asocijacija za pravo i finansije (EALF)
NVO Sigurna ženska kuća – SŽK
LGBT Forum Progres
Romska organizacija mladih “Koračajte sa nama – Phiren amenca”
Crnogorski komitet pravnika za zaštitu ljudskih prava (CKZP)
Institut za poslovnu i finansijsku pismenost
NVO Udruženje mladih sa hendikepom Crne Gore – UMHCG
Udruženje paraplegičara Crne Gore
NVO Centar za preduzetništvo
Udruženje paraplegičara Bijelo Polje i Mojkovac
Unija slobodnih sindikata Crne Gore
NVO Udruženje za razvoj civilnog društva Bijelo Polje
Dr Martin Schneider – Jacoby Association MSJA
NVO Stečajci u Crnoj Gori
Fondacija Pomoć – Akcija za sjever Crne Gore
Sindikat doktora medicine Crne Gore
NVO Nada Herceg Novi
NVO Multimedijal Montenegro – Mmne
NVO Ruka ruci
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