Macedonia Still Guarding Public Information, NGO Says

Six years since the adoption of a Public Information Access Law, Macedonians still have trouble obtaining official information, the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia says.Macedonia’s information law is good in theory, but poor implementation means it is of little practical use, Open Society Macedonia said in its latest analysis.

Its study shows that roughly 40 per cent of all requests for public information get caught up in an appeals process.

“Holders of information use general or vague answers to skillfully avoid disclosing the data that is requested,” Dance Danailova, from the foundation, says.

“In many cases, they point people to web pages, even though the requested information is obviously not contained there,” Danailova added.

Open Society Macedonia says institutions are particularly reluctant to disclose data contained in more than one document.

Instead of following the law and forwarding all the documents of potential use to the applicant, in many cases they ignore that part of the request.

The NGO’s analysis shows that municipal institutions are especially inert when it comes to releasing information.

Open Society advises increasing the budget for the field of information provision and training institutions in how to handle information requests.

The analysis was based on a representative sample of over 700 public information requests.

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