Publication Date: December 2013
Research and Editorial Team: Mariam Asanishvili, MANS
Freedom of information in Montenegro

This analysis, published by the NGO MANS in 2014, examines the level of implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information in Montenegro and provides specific suggestions and recommendations for Montenegrin institutions on how to enforce and oversight the application of the law, and to develop the needed protection mechanisms for the freedom of information.

The report also provides an overview of important case law of the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of information issues, as well as of authoritative recommendations by the Council of Europe and instruments of the United Nations. Furthermore, it outlines good practices of other countries in the region and discusses the reasons underlying public bodies' refusals to disclose information. Lastly, it provides views by experts and suggestions on how to improve the application of the law.

According to the authors, in Montenegro there is a negative official attitude towards transparency and disclosure of public information, along with an adversarial approach on the part of many civil society actors. The paper highlights that despite some positive developments, e.g. the adoption of a new law in 2013 that provides significantly more protection to the freedom of information, the country still has problems with implementation and arbitrary refusals to release information. Another reason of concern is that Montenegrin courts that have to assess the appeals for refusals tend not to use and quote the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The report concludes that it is necessary to look beyond legal provisions and to examine how the law is applied in practice. There is a need for change in attitudes towards openness and disclosure of public information. However, according to the authors, "it will be a challenge to change official practices and to generate the political will to improve the freedom of information situation in Montenegro".

This analyses has been conducted by MANS' legal department with the support of the Open Society Foundation, Human Rights and Governance Grants Program – Internship Program.

Tags: Montenegro Access to information

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