Macedonia Slated over Secrecy
The government in Macedonia is the country's most secretive institution, when it comes to sharing public information, shows a year-long survey carried out by an independent foundation.
The analysis, presented under the heading, “Wall of silence”, shows that around 50 per cent of the information requests filed during the past year, since the law on access to public information came into force, have been totally ignored by institutions.
Dance Danilovska, the project coordinator from the Open Society Institute-Macedonia, which carried out the research, told Balkan Insight on Tuesday that, “of all institutions, the government is the most non-transparent one”.
The authorities’ failure to present the financial details of the government’s media campaign, “Invest in Macedonia”, their refusal to provide access to key commercial contracts, such as the sale to a foreign investor of the OKTA oil refinery near the capital, Skopje, and the agreement with the country’s largest mobile operator, T-Mobile, are some of the most obvious examples of the government’s secrecy, according to Danilovska.
She argues that many administrative barriers and fees discourage people from filing information requests more often.
“The law envisages the proactive approach of institutions in enabling easier access to information, but that has simply not been implemented”, Danilovska said.
The analysis shows that municipalities, as opposed to the central government institutions, are generally more open to the public and more willing to implement the law.
Not a single official has been taken to task for failing to respond to information requests, although the legislation which came into force in November 2006 provides for measures to be taken for non-compliance.