Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Request to the Republic of Serbia to Enable CSOs to Acces the Documents on the Contents of Laws


The Coalition for Access to Justice requires that the Republic of Serbia immediately allows the civil society organizations (CSOs) to access the documents related to the contents of laws prepared to be adopted. In line with the strategic orientation of the Republic of Serbia, CSOs should have a key role in the legislative reforms and other aspects of the process of joining the European Union.

The Coalition for Access to Justice strongly protests against the decision of the European Integration Office of the Government of the Republic of Serbia (Office) not to allow CSOs to access the document containing the comments of the European Union on the Draft Law on Public Information and Media. This decision, which has no grounds in the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, directly incites the competent ministries to prescribe new regulations hidden from the public eye.

The Coalition for Access to Justice draws attention to the fact that comments of the European Commission were submitted to the Office more than 45 days ago, and that the competent Ministry of Culture and Information has repeatedly confirmed in writing that it has not received the comments from the Office. Therefore, the Coalition for Access to Justice requires from the Republic of Serbia to answer the question on who from the Office and based on which authorities may decide on whether the public and the competent ministry will be acquainted with the contents of the documents coming from Brussels, which are related to development of new legal regulations.

Media laws contain the regulations that are of specific importance for democratic system of the country and should not be subject to processing of hidden political agenda of the ministries and other stakeholders. In addition, the work on the change of the whole legislation of the country in the process of EU accession should not be burdened with democratic deficits, because the development of democracy, i.e. political participation, and human rights and freedoms of those to whom the laws apply, is the basic goal of the European integration process. Therefore, the Coalition for Access to Justice requires from the Republic of Serbia to immediately take all necessary measures and directly ensure the participative role of the citizens in the process of the legislative reform, in accordance with the highest democratic standards of modern society.

The following organisations are the members of the Coalition for Access to Justice:
Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, CHRIS - Network of the Committees for Human Rights in Serbia, Humanitarian Law Center, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, Praxis and Independent Journalists' Association of Vojvodina.

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