Country

Serbia

Serbia

Name of law : Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
First adopted : 2003

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 5
Scope 30 30
Requesting procedures 30 22
Exceptions 30 26
Appeals 30 29
Sanctions 8 7
Promotional measures 16 16
TOTAL 150 135

Right of Access

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1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 YES Constitution of Serbia, Article 51. Paragraph 2: "Everyone shall have the right to access information kept by state bodies and organizations with delegated public powers, in accordance with the law." Link to constitution (English version) http://www.srbija.gov.rs/cinjenice_o_srbiji/ustav.php?change_lang=en
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Article 2: "Information of public importance, within the meaning of this Law, is information held by a public authority body, created during work or related to the work of the public authority body, contained in a document, and related to everything that the public has a justified interest to know. [...]"
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 Partially Article 1: "This Law regulates the rights to access information of public importance held by public authority bodies, with the purpose of the fulfillment and protection of the public interest to know and attain a free democratic order and an open society. In order to implement the right to access information of public importance, held by public authority bodies, a Commissioner for Information of Public Importance shall be established (hereinafter: Commissioner) by this Law, as an autonomous state body, independent in fulfilling its authority."




Scope

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Article 5. Paragraph 1:“Everyone shall have the right to be informed whether a public authority holds specific information of public importance, i.e. whether it is otherwise accessible.” Article 6: “Everyone shall be able to exercise the rights in this Law under equal conditions, notwithstanding their citizenship, temporary or permanent residence, i.e. seat, or personal attribute such as race, confession, nationality, ethnicity, gender, et al.” All natural persons are included under the scope.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES Article 2. Paragraph 2: "Information of public importance held by a public authority body shall denote the following notwithstanding: whether the source of information is a public authority or another person; the information medium (paper, tape, film, electronic media, et al) containing the document with the information; the date of creation of information; the manner of obtaining information; or another feature of information."
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES Article 5. Paragraph 2:"Everyone shall have the right to access information of public importance by being allowed insight in a document containing information of public importance, the right to a copy of that document, and the right to receive a copy of the document upon request, by mail, fax, electronic mail, or in another way."
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES Article 3: "In terms of this Law, a public authority body (hereinafter: public authority) shall denote notably: 1) A state body, territorial autonomy body, a local self-governance body, as well as an organization vested with public authority (hereinafter: state body); 2) A legal person founded by or funded wholly or predominantly by a state body." All the bodies and classes of information seem to be included under the scope. Despite Archives are not explicitly mentioned, the definition of bodies include public archives too.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 3: "In terms of this Law, a public authority body (hereinafter: public authority) shall denote notably: 1) A state body, territorial autonomy body, a local self-governance body, as well as an organization vested with public authority (hereinafter: state body); 2) A legal person founded by or funded wholly or predominantly by a state body." All bodies seem to be included.
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 3: "In terms of this Law, a public authority body (hereinafter: public authority) shall denote notably: 1) A state body, territorial autonomy body, a local self-governance body, as well as an organization vested with public authority (hereinafter: state body); 2) A legal person founded by or funded wholly or predominantly by a state body." The judicial branch seems to be included.
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES Article 3: "In terms of this Law, a public authority body (hereinafter: public authority) shall denote notably: 2) A legal person founded by or funded wholly or predominantly by a state body." Article provides:"A public authority body within the meaning of this Law...shall mean:A legal entity founded by or fully or predominantly funded by a government body."
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES Article 3: "In terms of this Law, a public authority body (hereinafter: public authority) shall denote notably: 1) A state body, territorial autonomy body, a local self-governance body, as well as an organization vested with public authority (hereinafter: state body); 2) A legal person founded by or funded wholly or predominantly by a state body." The definition provided in the article seems to cover this.
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES Article 3: "In terms of this Law, a public authority body (hereinafter: public authority) shall denote notably: 1) A state body, territorial autonomy body, a local self-governance body, as well as an organization vested with public authority (hereinafter: state body); 2) A legal person founded by or funded wholly or predominantly by a state body."

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES Article 15. Paragraph 4: "The applicant need not list the reasons for the request."
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 YES Article 15. Paragraph 2: “The request shall contain the name of the public authority, the full name and surname and address of the applicant and as many specifics as possible of the sought information.” Paragraph 3: “The request may also contain other data that will facilitate the search for the requested information.” Requesters will be asked for the full name and surname and address, and as many specifics as possible of the requested information.
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES Article 15. Paragraph 1: “An applicant shall submit a request in writing to a public authority to exercise the right to access information of public importance.” Paragraph 5: “If the request does not contain data in Para 2 of this Article, i.e. if the request is deficient, the authorized person of the public authority shall be obliged to instruct the applicant free of charge how to rectify the deficiencies in the request, i.e. to give the applicant instructions on supplements.” No official forms asked in order to obtain the pretended information. No requirement to state request under RTI law.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES Article 38: "[...]The authorized person shall: 1) Receive requests, inform the applicant of holding information and give insight in the document containing the requested information, i.e. deliver the information in an appropriate manner, reject the request with a decision, provide the necessary assistance to the applicants to exercise their rights regulated by this Law;"
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES Article 38. Paragraph 2: “The authorized person shall: 1) Receive requests, inform the applicant of holding information and give insight in the document containing the requested information, i.e. deliver the information in an appropriate manner, reject the request with a decision, provide the necessary assistance to the applicants to exercise their rights regulated by this Law;”
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 NO Not mentioned about the receipt.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES Article 19: “When public authority does not hold the document containing the requested information, it shall refer the request to the Commissioner, and inform the Commissioner and the applicant who, to its knowledge, holds the document.” Article 20: “Upon receipt of the request, the Commissioner shall check whether the document containing the information sought in the request is held by the public authority that had referred him the request. In the event the Commissioner determines that the document in Para 1 of this Article is not held by the public authority that had referred the request of the applicant, the Commissioner shall refer the request to the public authority that holds the document, unless specified differently by the applicant, and inform the applicant thereof or refer the applicant to the public authority that holds the requested information.” The referral will be made by the authority to the commissioner and he will inform or refers the application to the authority holds the pretended document or information by the applicant.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES Article 18: "The equipment at the disposal of the public authority shall be used for insight in a document containing the requested information, unless the applicant asks to gain insight in the document by using his/her own equipment. "
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES Article 16. Paragraph 1: "A public authority shall without delay and within 15 days from receipt of the request at the latest inform the applicant whether it holds the requested information, allow insight in the document containing the requested information i.e. issue or send out to the applicant a copy of the document. The copy of the document shall be deemed sent out on the day it leaves the office of the public authority from which the information was requested." "A public authority shall, without delay…"
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES Article 16. Paragraph 1: "A public authority shall without delay and within 15 days from receipt of the request at the latest inform the applicant whether it holds the requested information, allow insight in the document containing the requested information i.e. issue or send out to the applicant a copy of the document. The copy of the document shall be deemed sent out on the day it leaves the office of the public authority from which the information was requested." The timeline established by the law is 15 calendar days.
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 Partially Article 16. Paragraph 3: "If a public authority is for a justified reason unable to inform the applicant within the deadline in Para 1 of this Article that it holds the information, to allow him/her insight in the document containing the sought information, to issue i.e. send him/her a copy of the document, the public authority shall promptly inform the applicant thereof and set another deadline that may not exceed 40 days from receipt of the request, within which it shall inform the applicant that it holds the information, allow him/her insight in the document containing the sought information, issue i.e. send the applicant a copy of the document." The public authority shall, within seven days of receipt of the request at the latest, inform the applicant about the delay. The timeline extension is 40 days (1 point loss).
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 17. Paragraph 1: "Insight in a document containing the requested information shall be free of charge."
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 Partially Article 17: "[...] A copy of the document containing the requested information shall be issued and the applicant shall be obliged to reimburse the necessary costs of duplication, and also in the event of sending, the costs of sending. The government shall sign the list of expenditures on the basis of which the public authority shall calculate the costs referred to in the previous Para. [...] The Commissioner shall follow the practice of reimbursement of costs and exemption from reimbursement and issue recommendations to the public authorities with the aim of standardizing the practice." Rules are set centrally. The fees are limited to the cost of reproduction and sending. The Decree of Government regulating charges provides for possibility not to charge at all if the price would be below 50 dinars (16 copies) (1 point loss). Some categories of request are free of charge (e.g. journalist, human rights, related to the safety of people and environment).
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Article 17. Paragraph 4: "Journalists, requesting a copy of a document for professional reasons, and non-governmental organizations, focusing on human rights and requesting a copy of a document for the performance of their registered activities, and all persons that request the information due to the imperilment, i.e. protection of public health and environment, shall be exempted from the obligation of reimbursement in Para 2 of this Article, except in cases referred to in Article 10, Para 1 of this Law." There are some waivers, but not specifically for impecunious people (for journalists and nongovernmental organizations focusing on human rights).
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 YES Article 8. Paragraph 2: "No provision of this Law may be interpreted in a manner that could lead to the revocation of a right conferred by this Law or its limitation to a greater degree than the one prescribed in Para 1 of this Article. " "Nothing in this Law shall be construed as justifying the revocation of a right conferred by this Law or its limitation to an extent exceeding that provided".
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 YES Articles 9: "A public authority shall not allow the applicant to exercise the right to access information of public importance, if it would thereby: 1) Expose to risk the life, health, safety or another vital interest of a person; 2) Imperil, obstruct or impede the prevention or detection of criminal offence, indictment for criminal offence, pretrial proceedings, trial, execution of a sentence or enforcement of punishment, any other legal proceeding, or unbiased treatment and a fair trial; 3) Seriously imperil national defense, national and public safety, or international relations; 4) Substantially undermine the government's ability to manage the national economic processes or significantly impede the fulfillment of justified economic interests; 5) Make available information or a document qualified by regulations or an official document based on the law, to be kept as a state, official, business or other secret, i.e. if such a document is accessible only to a specific group of persons and its disclosure could seriously legally or otherwise prejudice the interests that are protected by the law and outweigh the access to information interest." All the exceptions listed are included under the permissible ones.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 YES Article 4: "It shall be deemed that there is always a justified public interest to know information held by the public authority, in terms of Article 2 of this Law, regarding a threat to, i.e. protection of public health and the environment, while with regard to other information the public authority holds, it shall be deemed that there is a justified interest of the public to know, in terms of article 2 of this Law, unless proven otherwise by the public authority. Article 8: "The rights in this Law may be xceptionally subjected to limitations prescribed by this Law if that is necessary in a democratic society in order to prevent a serious violation of an overriding interest based on the Constitution or law. No provision of this Law may be interpreted in a manner that could lead to the revocation of a right conferred by this Law or its limitation to a greater degree than the one prescribed in Para 1 of this Article." Article 9: "A public authority shall not allow the applicant to exercise the right to access information of public importance, if it would thereby: 5) Make available information or a document qualified by regulations or an official document based on the law, to be kept as a state, official, business or other secret, i.e. if such a document is accessible only to a specific group of persons and its disclosure could seriously legally or otherwise prejudice the interests that are protected by the law and outweigh the access to information interest."
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES Article 4: "It shall be deemed that there is always a justified public interest to know information held by the public authority, in terms of Article 2 of this Law, regarding a threat to, i.e. protection of public health and the environment, while with regard to other information the public authority holds, it shall be deemed that there is a justified interest of the public to know, in terms of article 2 of this Law, unless proven otherwise by the public authority. Article 8: "The rights in this Law may be xceptionally subjected to limitations prescribed by this Law if that is necessary in a democratic society in order to prevent a serious violation of an overriding interest based on the Constitution or law. No provision of this Law may be interpreted in a manner that could lead to the revocation of a right conferred by this Law or its limitation to a greater degree than the one prescribed in Para 1 of this Article." Article 14. Section 2:"A public authority shall not fulfill the applic ant’s right to access information of public importance if it would thereby violate the right to privacy, the right to reputation or any other right of a person that is the subject of information, except if: 1) The person has agreed; 2)Such information regards a personality, phenomenon or event of public interest,especially a holder of a state or political post, and is relevant with regard to the duties that person is performing; 3)A person has given rise to a request for information about him/her by his/her behaviour, especially regarding his/her private life." It seems that at first, all exception are covered with the Article 4, that establishes "Justified public interest to know exists, unless the public authority concerned proves otherwise".
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 NO Not mentioned.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO No clear procedures listed, and the required information shall not be granted unless the person concerned has given his/her consent. No points awarded.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES Article 12:"If the requested information of public importance can be extracted from other information contained in the document a public authority is not obliged to allow the applicant insight in, the public authority shall allow the applicant insight in the part of the document containing only the extracted information."
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 YES Article 16. Paragraph 10: "In the event a public authority refuses to inform the applicant, either entirely or partially, whether it holds the sought information, to allow the applicant insight in the document containing the requested information, to issue i.e. send to the applicant a copy of the document, it shall be obliged to issue a decision on the rejection of the request and give a written explanation of such a decision, and to notify the applicant in the decision of the legal means at his/her disposal to appeal such a decision."


Appeals

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36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 YES Article 16. Paragraph 10: "In the event a public authority refuses to inform the applicant, either entirely or partially, whether it holds the sought information, to allow the applicant insight in the document containing the requested information, to issue i.e. send to the applicant a copy of the document, it shall be obliged to issue a decision on the rejection of the request and give a written explanation of such a decision, and to notify the applicant in the decision of the legal means at his/her disposal to appeal such a decision." Article 23: "Provisions of the Law on General Administrative Procedure related to the appellate decisions of second instance body shall be applied to the procedure before the Commissioner, unless specified differently by this Law." Article 24: “The Commissioner shall reach a decision promptly and within 30 days from the submission of the complaint at the latest, upon giving the public authority and, if necessary the applicant, the opportunity to reply in writing.” A simple procedure with a short timeframe (20 working days) exists. The appeal will be submitted to another body. Proceedings shall be governed by the provisions of another law, the Law on General Administrative Proceedings.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES Article 16. Paragraph 4: “If a public authority does not respond to the request within the deadline, the applicant may lodge a complaint with the Commissioner, except in cases prescribed by this Law.” Article 23: "Provisions of the Law on General Administrative Procedure related to the appellate decisions of second instance body shall be applied to the procedure before the Commissioner, unless specified differently by this Law."
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES Article 30. Paragraph 1: "The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter: National Assembly) shall appoint the Commissioner by a majority of votes of the MPs at the proposal of the Board of the National Assembly competent for information." Article 31: ”The term of office of a Commissioner shall cease before the expiration of his/her term of office at his/her request, or upon turning sixty-five years of age, and upon dismissal. The National Assembly shall decide on the end of Commissioner’s term of office. A Commissioner shall be dismissed if he/she has been convicted of a crime with a sentence of imprisonment, in the event of permanent working incapacity or if he/she holds a post in or is employed by a state body or political party, if he/she looses the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, or if he/she performs his duties unprofessionally and unconscientiously. The procedure for dismissing the Commissioner shall be launched on the initiative of one third of MPs. The Board of the National Assembly competent for information shall establish whether there are reasons for dismissal and shall inform the National Assembly thereof. The Board of the National Assembly competent for information shall also inform the National Assembly about the request of the Commissioner to have his/her duties". The commissioner will be elected by the The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. The tenure is secured, because the commissioner can only be removed by The National Assembly, by a majority of votes of all members of parliament.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 YES Article 34. Paragraph 4: "The funds required for the work of the Commissioner and his/her staff shall be secured in the budget of the Republic of Serbia." The required funding for the operations of the Commissioner and his staff shall be allocated from the budget of the Republic of Serbia.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 YES Article 30, Article 31, Article 32: “The Commissioner shall be autonomous and independent in the exercise of his/her powers. In the exercise of his/her powers the Commissioner shall neither seek nor accept orders or instructions from state bodies or other persons. […]”
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES Article 26: "The Commissioner shall undertake actions to determine the facts necessary for reaching the decision referred to in Articles 24 and 25 of this Law. In order to determine the facts referred to in Para 1 of this Law, the Commissioner shall be allowed insight in every information medium this Law applies to." The Commissioner shall take steps to find any facts necessary for reaching a decision, including the access to every information carrier covered by this law. The review of classified documents is not specifically mentioned, but it can be inferred by the lecture of the article that it is under the scope of the act.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES Article 28. Paragraph 1: "The decisions and conclusions of the Commissioner shall be obligatory."
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 YES Article 25. Paragraph 1: "Upon receipt of a request or ex officio, the Commissioner shall reach the decision establishing that a public authority has not fulfilled its obligations set forth in this Law, with the exception of public auth orities referred to in Para 2 of Article 22 of this Law, and order the measures the authority is to take to fulfill them, upon giving the opportunity to the authority to reply in writing." The commissioner can order the measures to take by the authority in order to fulfill with the requests of information.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Article 27, Paragraph 1: "An administrative dispute complaint may be lodged against a Commissioner’s decision."
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 YES Presumably, the appeal will be free of charge, and the lawyer won´t be needed.There is no provision about costs or lawyer, so we assume that there is no cost or mandatory role of the lawyer.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES Article 22. Paragraph 1: "An applicant may lodge a complaint to the Commissioner within 15 days upon receipt of the public authority decision, if: 1) In contravention of Paras 1 and 3 of Article 16 of this Law, the public authority refused to inform the applicant whether it holds specific information of public importance or whether it is otherwise accessible to it, refused to allow insight in the document containing the requested information, to issue i.e. send to the applicant a copy of the document, or failed to do so within the prescribed deadline; 2) In contravention of Para 2 of Article 16 of this Law, the public authority failed to reply to a submitted request within the prescribed deadline; 3) In contravention of Para 2 of Article 17 of this Law, the public authority conditioned the issuance of the copy of the document containing the requested information by payment of a fee exceeding the necessary costs of duplication; 4) The public authority does not allow insight in the document containing the requested information in the manner set forth in Para 1 of Article 18 of this Law; 5) The public authority does not allow insight in the document containing the requested information, i.e. does not issue a copy of the document in the manner prescribed in Para 4 of Article 18 of this Law."
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES Article 22; Article 24: "The Commissioner shall reach a decision promptly and within 30 days from the submission of the complaint at the latest, upon giving the public authority and, if necessary the applicant, the op portunity to reply in writing. The Commissioner shall dismiss a complaint that is inadmissible, overdue or filed by an unauthorized person. The public authority shall prove it has acted in accordance with its obligations set forth in this Law."
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES Article 24. Paragraph 3: "The public authority shall prove it has acted in accordance with its obligations set forth in this Law".
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 Partially Article 28. Paragraph 2: “The enforcement of the decisions and conclusions of the Commissioner shall be procured by the Government of the Republic of Serbia if necessary.” Article 35: "The Commissioner shall: 2) Initiate the preparation or change of regulations for the implementation and promotion of the right to access information of public importance; 3) Propose to public authorities measures to be taken to improve their work regulated by this Law;" Not specifically mentioned, but the commissioner is allowed to use coercive means in order to enforce his decisions.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES Article 44. "The public authority shall be held liable for damages caused by the inability of a media outlet to publish information because a public authority had without justification denied or limited its rights to access information of public importance from Article 5 of this Law, i.e. because a public authority gave preference to a journalist or media outlet in contravention of provisions of Article 7 of this Law." Article 46: "A fine between 5,000 and 50,000 dinars shall be imposed upon the authorized person in a public authority if the public authority: 1. Acts in contravention of the principle of equality (Article 6); 2. Discriminates against a journalist or a media outlet (Article 7); 3. Fails to specify the information medium, where and when the requested information was published (Para 2 of Article 10); 4. Fails to communicate accurate and complete information, i.e. fails to allow insight in a document containing accurate and complete information. (Article 11); 5. Fails to allow the applicant insight in a document or to make a copy of the document in the language in which the request was submitted (Para 4 of Article 18); 6. Refuses to receive a request, fails to inform the applicant of possessing the information, or fails to allow insight in a document containing the requested information, i.e. does not deliver a copy of the document in an appropriate way, fails to issue a decision on rejecting the request and refuses to provide the applicants with the necessary assistance for exercising their rights (Sub-Para 1 of Para 2 of Article 38)." No specific mention about the destruction of information, but the scope for sanctions is broad enough to think that is included.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES Article 22 "An applicant may lodge a complaint to the Commissioner within 15 days upon receipt of the public authority decision, if: 1) In contravention of Paras 1 and 3 of Article 16 of this Law, the public authority refused to inform the applicant whether it holds specific information of public importance or whether it is otherwise accessible to it, refused to allow insight in the document containing the requested information, to issue i.e. send to the applicant a copy of the document, or failed to do so within the prescribed deadline; 2) In contravention of Para 2 of Article 16 of this Law, the public authority failed to reply to a submitted request within the prescribed deadline; 3) In contravention of Para 2 of Article 17 of this Law, the public authority conditioned the issuance of the copy of the document containing the requested information by payment of a fee exceeding the necessary costs of duplication; 4) The public authority does not allow insight in the document containing the requested information in the manner set forth in Para 1 of Article 18 of this Law; 5) The public authority does not allow insight in the document containing the requested information, i.e. does not issue a copy of the document in the manner prescribed in Para 4 of Article 18 of this Law. A complaint cannot be lodged against the decision of the National Assembly, the President of the Republic, Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Supreme Court of Serbia, the Constitutional Court and the republican Public Prosecutor. An administrative dispute complaint may be lodged against the decision in Para 2 of this Article, in accordance with law, on which the court notifies Commissioner ex officio." Article 46 "A fine between 5,000 and 50,000 dinars shall be imposed upon the authorized person in a public authority if the public authority: 1. Acts in contravention of the principle of equality (Article 6);2. Discriminates against a journalist or a media outlet (Article 7); 3. Fails to specify the information medium, where and when the requested information was published (Para 2 of Article 10); 4. Fails to communicate accurate and complete information, i.e. fails to allow insight in a document containing accurate and complete information. (Article 11); 5. Fails to allow the applicant insight in a document or to make a copy of the document in the language in which the request was submitted (Para 4 of Article 18); 6. Refuses to receive a request, fails to inform the applicant of possessing the information, or fails to allow insight in a document containing the requested information, i.e. does not deliver a copy of the document in an appropriate way, fails to issue a decision on rejecting the request and refuses to provide the applicants with the necessary assistance for exercising their rights (Sub-Para 1 of Para 2 of Article 38)."
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 Partially Article 32, Paragraph 4: “The Commissioner may not be held liable for an opinion he/she expressed or a recommendation he/she made while performing his/her duties; in the event of a legal proceeding initiated over an act of crime committed in the exercise of his/her functions, he/she may not be detained without the consent of the National Assembly.” The commissioner has legal immunity for acts taken in pursuit of their mandate. No mention about others (1 point loss).
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 YES The conditions set to grant protection are not reasonable.


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54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 38. Paragraph 1: "A public authority shall appoint one or more official persons (hereinafter: authorized person) to respond to request for free access to information of public importance. […]"
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 35: "The Commissioner shall: 2) Initiate the preparation or change of regulations for the implementation and promotion of the right to access information of public importance; 6) Inform the public of the content of this Law and the rights regulated by this Law;"
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 37: "The Commissioner shall without delay publish and update a manual with practical instructions on the effective exercise of rights regulated by this Law in the Serbian language, and in languages that are efined as official languages by law. The manual in Para 1 of this Article shall obligatorily contain the content and scope of rights to access information of public importance, as well as how these rights can be exercised. The Commissioner shall be obliged to inform the public of the content of the manual in Para 1 of this Article via the press, electronic media, the Internet, public panel discussions and in other ways."
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 38 "A public authority shall appoint one or more official persons (hereinafter: authorized person) to respond to request for free access to information of public importance. The authorized person shall: 1) Receive requests, inform the applicant of holding information and give insight in the document containing the requested information, i.e. deliver the information in an appropriate manner, reject the request with a decision, provide the necessary assistance to the applicants to exercise their rights regulated by this Law; 2) Take measures to promote the practice of administering, maintaining, storing and safeguarding information mediums. If an authorized person referred to in Para 1 of this Article has not been appointed, the duties of the authorized person shall be performed by the head of the public authority."
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 39. Paragraph 6: "Data on the manner and place of storing information mediums, type of information it holds, type of information it allows insight in and the description of the procedure for submitting a request;"
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 35: “The Commissioner shall: 4) Undertake necessary measures to train employees of state bodies and to inform the employees of their obligations regarding the rights to access information of public importance with the aim of their effective implementation of this Law;” Article 42 “With the aim of effectively implementing this Law, a state body shall train its staff and instruct its employees on their obligations regarding the rights regulated by this Law. The staff training in Para 1 of this Article shall notably include: the content, scope and importance of the right to access information of public importance, the procedure for exercising those rights, the procedure for administering, maintaining, and safeguarding information mediums, and types of data which the state body is obliged to publish.” The appointed officials will be trained by the Commissioner and his staff or by the government body itself (article 42).
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 39: “A state body shall at least once a year publish a directory with the main data about its work,[…]” Article 43: “A state body authorized person shall submit an annual report to the Commissioner on the activities of the body undertaken with the aim of implementing this Law, which shall contain the following data: 1) Number of submitted requests, number of wholly or partly approved requests and the number of rejected or dismissed requests; 2) Number and content of the complaints against the decisions to reject or dismiss a request; 3) Total sum of fees charged for the exercise of the right to access information of public importance; 4) Measures taken with regard to the obligation to publish a directory; 5) Measures taken with regard to maintaining information mediums; 6) Measures taken with regard to staff training.”
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 35: "The Commissioner shall: 1) Monitor the respect of obligations by the public authorities regulated by this Law and report to the public and National Assembly thereof;” Article 36: “The Commissioner shall lay with the Nation al Assembly an annual report on the activities undertaken by the public authorities in the implementation of this Law and his/her own activities and expenses within three months from the end of the fiscal year. In addition to the report in Para 1 of this Article, the Commissioner shall lay with the National Assembly other reports as he sees fit.”