Following the activities of the Access to Public Documents Week, the Agency for Information and Privacy, with the support of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, today held the Conference with Secretary Generals of central institutions and Independent Agencies, with media and NGO representatives, in order to increase transparency and institutional accountability for the implementation of legal obligations of institutions, as provided by the Law on Access to Public Documents.
To mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information, the Commissioner for Information and Privacy, Krenare Sogojeva Dermaku, started the Conference by emphasizing that the proactive publication of public documents, in addition to providing easy access to information for citizens, also helps in democratic institutional development and increases citizens’ trust towards institutions.
The General Director of the Agency, Lumnije Demi, presented the comparative report of complaints for Access to Public Documents against institutions, namely the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries and Independent Agencies for the period September 2021-2022 and September 2022-2023.
The Director of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, Yll Buleshkaj, discussed the challenges and opportunities of the APK in realizing the right to access public documents and emphasized that transparency and accountability is one of the main components for the prevention of corruption that also helps in ensuring easier information for the public.
The Prime Minister’s Office was represented by the Deputy Secretary General, Arben Krasniqi, who emphasized that the Government of Kosovo, through the actions it is taking towards digital transformation, aims to increase transparency and accountability, as well as improve access to public documents. and other services for citizens.
The Deputy General Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Enis Spahiu, discussed the realization of the right to access public documents and the increase of transparency for spending public money. Among other things, he emphasized that the Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers has set a high standard in terms of budget planning and spending public money.
Speaking on the occasion, Meghan McCormack, Head of the Governance Division from the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, pointed out that comparative statistics during the period September 2021-2023 showed an increase in complaints, suggesting that this increase serves as a positive indicator of efforts successful of the Commissioner and the Agency in raising awareness among citizens for the realization of their right to access public documents.
The editor-in-chief of Telegraf Portal, Muhamet Hajrullahu, discussed the challenges of journalists in achieving access to public documents, stressing that the media are only transmitters of the actions of institutions to citizens. As one of the main challenges, he mentioned the silence of the institutions regarding the requests for access to public documents, which affects the loss of trust of the citizens towards the institutions.
The Legal Researcher of the Kosovo Law Institute, Eranda Zekaj, after presenting the report on the requests of citizens and other interest groups for access to public documents, evaluated the work of the Commissioner for creating positive precedents and increasing the level of transparency and accountability based of the actions taken by the Agency.
The Commissioner concluded the work of this conference by calling on all institutional heads to be more open to the public, so that we can strengthen transparency and accountability. Also, she emphasized the legal obligation of the institutions to appoint the Official for Access to Public Documents, which would serve as an efficient mechanism for speeding up the processing of requests for access to public documents.