As part of a process of reforming the country’s RTI legislation, the government of Montenegro has prepared a draft Law on Free Access to Information, an update to the 2005 Law on Free Access to Information. The draft Law is currently being debated and discussed by several stakeholders, including representatives from government, NGOs and intergovernmental organisations such as the OSCE. In response to a request for an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the draft Law by some of the participants in this process, CLD prepared these Comments based on an analysis using its RTI Legislation Rating Methodology.
The analysis, as presented at a conference in Pogdorica by CLD Legal Officer Michael Karanicolas, found that although the law made significant progress in improving its appeals mechanism, problematic changes to its exceptions regime meant that the new law scored only slightly better than its predecessor. The draft Law would bring Montenegro up from 30th to 27th in the world, but Montenegro would remain seventh out of the eight Balkan countries in its “peer group”, ahead of only Albania. As a result, the main recommendations in these Comments are for Montenegro to scrap the proposed revisions to its exceptions regime and move to a standard harm test in line with international standards, as well as to improve the proposed oversight body by building in greater powers, mandate and independence.