The countries of South East Europe enjoy very high standards when it comes to the legislation regulating access to public information and transparency. But the reality on the ground is different and journalists across the region denounce serious difficulties in obtaining – both from private organizations and public institutions - the access to information they are entitled by the law. This dossier presents the articles published by the network of our media partner in the ECPMF project, assessing the specific situation in the countries involved in the project.

IN-DEPTH

DOSSIER Access to public information in Erdoğan's Turkey

Gülseren Adaklı | 10/3/2017

A detailed and unique analysis of the right to access information in Turkey, where not only this right is not being upheld, but also the freedom of expression is heavily violated

DOSSIER Accessing information in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo | Ljupko Mišeljić | 9/3/2017

All too often, institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina ignore requests for access to information, give only partial answers, or do not reply within the statutory deadline

DOSSIER Romania and access to information: a law that works

Stela Giurgeanu | 6/3/2017

In Romania, the law on access to information is a substantially effective tool in support of quality journalism

DOSSIER Montenegro, the silence of the public administration

Podgorica | Ivan Čađenović | 2/3/2017

Montenegro adopted a law on free access to public information 7 years ago, but in many cases the information required is withheld, and no one is sanctioned

DOSSIER Serbia: how the authorities block access to information

Simon Lenormand | 23/2/2017

Serbia has one of the best laws in the world to guarantee public access to information. The problem is, the state does not respect its own laws. And the situation may get worse in the future

DOSSIER Croatia: above public opinion

Zagreb | Toni Gabrić | 16/2/2017

In Croatia, journalists and citizens have a hard time accessing information which should be of public domain

DOSSIER Serbia: the hard fight for information

Maja Poznatov | 13/2/2017

Even though there is a good institutional and legislative framework defending the right to access information of public interest, some crucial issues are still unresolved

DOSSIER Bulgaria: every third institution is not transparent

Tsvetelina Yordanova | 9/2/2017

According to a study conducted by a local Ngo, Bulgarian institutions are gradually improving their transparency when publicising the acts they issue. Nevertheless, much remains to be done

DOSSIER Kosovar journalists need to demand implementation of their access to information rights

Furtuna Sheremeti | 8/2/2017

In Kosovo, access to information is well guaranteed in theory — in practise it’s a different story

RIGHTS Europe: access to information in practice, not just on paper

Andreas Pavlou* | 17/11/2016

250 years after the first transparency law in Europe adopted in Sweden in 1766, Europeans need access to information in practice, not just on paper. An editorial


This publication has been produced within the project European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, co-funded by the European Commission. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso and its partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. The project's page

Access to public information refers to the right to access information held by public bodies, also known as "right to know".  Access to public information is considered of fundamental importance for the effective functioning of democratic systems, as it enhances governments' and public officials' accountability, boosting people participation and allowing their informed participation into public life. (Source: "Access to public information in Europe ", Wikipedia)
Wiki4MediaFreedom: read the entries on Access to Information

Interviews by the European Center for Press and Media Freedom

Croatia and the access to public information
1/2/2017 - An interview to Barbara Matejcic, freelance journalist in Croatia
Albania and the access to public information
1/2/2017 - An interview to Rudina Hoxha, Editor, FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA
Slovenia and the access to public information
28/1/2017 - An interview to Sonja Merljak, reporter with the Slovenian daily ’Delo’
Serbia and the access to public information
27/1/2017 - An interview to Milorad Ivanovic, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek Serbia
Contents from the Resource Centre for Press and Media Freedom

Transparency in the Balkans and Moldova

A 2016 report by BIRN presents a mixed picture of transparency and accountability in the Balkans and Moldova

Indicators on the level of media freedom and journalists’ safety in the Western Balkans

Recently established "Regional platform for media freedom in the Western Balkans" warns about the increased use of physical violence as a tool of intimidation against journalists

A guide for journalists on how to access government information

This guide offers to journalists a comprehensive framework, tips and notes on how to access government information. The guide is available in 12 languages on LeagalLeaks website

The Right to Information Is a Human Right, Strasbourg Rules

Hungarian authorities erred when they refused to provide a human rights NGO access to information – an essential part of freedom of expression – about the employment of pro deo lawyers