Montenegro

What's New

  • 7 April 2016

    Montenegro Plan to Open Public Records Doubted

    Montenegro’s plans to rewrite its Freedom of Information Act are drawing criticisms, according to an article by Dusica Tomovic of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. “Montenegro is reforming its Freedom of Information Act in line with EU demands – but some NGOs suspect access to public records will stay limited due to a lack of political […]

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  • 28 January 2016

    OGP Examines Membership of Kenya, Malawi, Montenegro

    The Open Government Partnership is reviewing the memberships of three member countries that have missed two deadlines to prepare national action plans (NAPs). Kenya, Malawi and Montenegro have failed for two successive years to produce action plans, a core commitment made by OGP members. The three countries could face being declared “inactive” under the OGP […]

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News Archive

  • 20 June 2011

    Montenegro Group Seeks Documents on Energy Cable

    A nongovernmental organization in Montenegro is asking the government to comply with an Administrative Court ruling and release an agreement dealing with a planned undersea energy cable linking Montenegro to Italy. The Network for Affirmation of NGC Sector (MANS) is seeking an agreement that was signed in November 2010 by representatives of Montenegro’s Prenos (CGEPS), […]

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  • 19 June 2009

    12 European Countries Sign First International Convention on Access to Official Documents

    Advocates Urge 37 Remaining Council of Europe Members to Sign Tromsø, Norway — On June 18, 2009, 12 of 47 member-states of the Council of Europe signed the Convention on Access to Official Documents, making history as the first international binding legal instrument that recognizes a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities. […]

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  • 20 March 2009

    Active Duty Chief of Police Arrested for 25-Year Old Political Disappearance of Labor Activist

    Historic Police Archives Key to Prosecution of Former War Crimes Guatemala City, Guatemala — March 5, 2009: A long-awaited break in one of Guatemalas most notorious human rights crimes, Hctor Roderico Ramrez Ros, a Guatemalan police officer, has been arrested in connection with the abduction and disappearance of labor activist Edgar Fernando Garca 25 years […]

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  • 22 March 2006

    EBRD Seeks Comment on Draft of New Disclosure Policy

    At the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the board recently released a proposal to modify its disclosure policies, with comments due April 14. The EBRD included in its announcement a number of new provisions. First, two new categories of information would be disclosed: General Institutional Information and Accountability and Governance. Second, the EBRD […]

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  • 24 February 2004

    Parliamentarians Flex Growing Organization, Make Request of Bank

    The chairman of an international group of parliamentarians has asked the World Bank to help assure a larger role for legislatures in setting the poverty-fighting strategies within their countries. The request marks one of the first times the parliamentarians have proposed a significant and specific policy change, according to persons familiar with the group’s history. […]

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links

ORGANIZATIONS

Foundation Open Society Institute, Representative Office Montenegro

 

OTHER RESOURCES

OSCE Mission to Serbia & Montenegro, "Press Release: OSCE Mission acknowledges adoption of Montenegrin Law on Free Access to Information and encourages its implementation" (11 November 2005)

 

Article 19, Memorandum on the Proposal for the Adoption of the Law on Free Access to Information of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (October 2004)

 

Article 19, Letter to Prime Minister of the Republic of Montenegro- support FOIA initiative (8 June 2004)

 

Art. 19, Memorandum on the Draft Law on Free Access to Information of Montenegro (March 2004)

 

Analysis of the Montenegrin draft Access to Information Law with regard to the provisions of the Public Information Law and the international Standards for the freedom of information, Constantine Palicarsky (AIP-Bulgaria)

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Click to view.

Text from the freedominfo.org Global Survey: Freedom of Information and Access to Government Records Around the World, by David Banisar (updated July 2006)

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

There is no general right of freedom of information in the Constitution.(1) Article 35 provides for freedom of the press. Article 19 gives everyone a right to "timely and complete information" about the environment. Article 31 gives individuals a right to access personal information about themselves and prevent its abuse.

The Law on Free Access to Information was adopted in November 2005 and went into effect then.

The law allows any natural or legal person the right to access information held in any form by state and local authorities, public companies and other entities that perform public powers. Requests must be in writing, including via email. Bodies must decide within eight days which can be extended another 15 days. It cases of emergencies, responses must be within 48 hours.

There are exemptions for national security, defense or international relations; public security, commercial or other private or public economic benefits; economic monetary or foreign exchange policy; prevention and investigation of criminal matters; personal privacy and other personal rights; and internal negotiations. The interests must be "significantly harmed" and the harm must be "considerably bigger than the public interest in publishing such information". Information cannot be withheld if it relates to ignoring regulations, unauthorized use of public resources, misuse of power, criminal offenses and other related maladministration issues.

Appeals for denials are to the supervisory body of the agency. Appeals can then be made to a court.

Government bodies are also required to create and publish lists of types of information held including public registers and records. The media ministry must publish a guide.

There are sanctions for agencies and officials who fail to allow access to information, publish the guide or punish whistleblowers.

The law also includes a limited whistleblower protection provision that limits sanctions on public employees who publicly reveal misuse or irregularities and who also inform the head of the agency or relevant investigatory agency.

The Ministry of Culture and Media is in charge of implementation and has conducted some trainings of officials but the perception by NGOs is that there is little political will on the law. The Network for the Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS) has filed several hundred requests so far and report that the agencies responded back on time in around 50 percent of the cases.

There is currently no data protection act in Montenegro. The government has established a working group on data protection to develop a bill to send to Parliament in 2006.

There is no law on the classification of state secrets but a working group is developing a bill to legislate on it this year. The Agency for National Security has issued a decree on classification but refuses to release it. The Criminal Code prohibits the disclosure of Official Secrets and Military Secrets.(2) The Law on the Agency for National Security allows individuals to ask for their files but thus far, it says no one has asked for them.

NOTES

Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro. http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2005/CDL(2005)096-e.pdf

Criminal Code §§ 425, 471.

 

 

Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.