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Access the Information Freely

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The new internet portal http://pravodaznam.ba was presented today in Sarajevo. The portal makes a specific contribution to the implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information and offers the citizens assistance with the submission of requests for free access to information, monitoring of its progress. It also offers a repository of all earlier successful and failed requests and a searchable database of institutions to which a request can be submitted.

The portal was prepared by the „Zašto ne” Association, in cooperation with Transparency International BiH and the Open Society Foundation’s Information Programme, UK-based MySociety and Spanish association Access Info. The portal is a part of the international project based on the successful British portal www.whatdotheyknow.com.

“The Law on Free Access to Information and its practical application never took roots with the citizens. It is mostly used by the media and, to some extent, by the civil society organisations. That was the main reason for us to launch this portal. We also want to promote electronic communication with the institutions. Every request and response will be stored on the site and available to all citizens to see and inspect. Quite often, the institutions don’t respond to the requests in any way or fashion and the site will provide clear information on the number of submitted requests for information and which institutions responded to such requests and which didn’t”, Darko Brkan, President of "Zašto ne" Association said.

Srđan Blagovčanin from Transparency International BiH added that, in view of the numerous problems encountered in the implementation of the Law, the portal intends to facilitate to a simple and quick communication between citizens and institutions and simplify the implementation of legal provisions.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are three Laws on Free Access to Information, on state and entity levels, and their implementation is far from satisfactory. In 2010, Transparency International conducted a research on the implementation of the Law and found that legal deadlines were not observed in 50% of all cases, and noted as other weaknesses the fact that civil servants were not properly informed about the law, the lack of proper by-laws and possible remedies.

Visit the “Pravo da znam” (Right to Know) portal at the link pravodaznam.ba.

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