HomePress Releases and PublicationsTHE PUBLIC HAS AN INDISPUTABLE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ON THE STATE OF ENVIRONMENT
Friday, 21 April 2017 08:38
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The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection addressing concerns of citizens and media reports on the problem of disposal of potentially hazardous waste from Zelezara Smederevo in villages near the factory, estimates that the competent authorities should provide the citizens, that is the public, with all relevant information, proactively, without delay and particularly without causing a need for possible intervention of the Commissioner.

The fact that large volumes of waste from minerals or slag are deposited in villages, in the immediate vicinity of their homes, fields or water sources, logically causes with the citizens concern and the need for information about on what basis, under what conditions, with what consequences and alike this has been done. The absence of this information increases anxiety and dissatisfaction of the citizens, which could even lead to public protests, as occurred in the villages Vranovo and Radinac.

The only real, acceptable response of local authorities, and other competent authorities, to justified interest of the citizens is to promptly provide all relevant information. It is unacceptable to ignore citizens' demands, and instruct them to complain with the Information Commissioner.

The Commissioner recalls that in this and all similar cases the public's rights are guaranteed by the Law on Free Access to Information and the Law on Environmental Protection which, as one of the fundamental principles proclaims the principle of information, that is the right of everyone to be informed about the state of the environment.

The Commissioner warns, not only regarding this specific case but generally, that under the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, information on a threat to public health and the environment is among the so-called privileged information. Accordingly, the Law for this type of information stipulates the obligation of the authorities to provide it to the request of the applicant within 48 hours, which is considerably less than the general statutory period of 15 days.

Most importantly, the Law provides for that with regard to this information justified public interest cannot be challenged at all, that cannot be called into question by referring to any of the reasons stipulated in the Law for a possible limitation of the public’s rights.

Starting from the above, the Commissioner considers that it’s an indisputable obligation of competent authorities to make available, without delay, to the citizens of the villages Vranovo and Radinac and the city of Smederevo, but also the entire Serbian public, all relevant information concerning the problem of waste disposal from Zelezara Smederevo.

 

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Statistics

  • Monthly Statistical Report in the field of Access to Information and Personal Data Protection

    28.4.2017.

    PENDING: 4.163

    DONE: 51.152

    Read more...

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Address book of the highest national authorities and selected non-governmental NGOs.

Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection

15, Bulevar kralja Aleksandra str, Belgrade 11000
Tel: +381 11 3408 900    Fax: +381 11 3343 379
Email: оffice@poverenik.rs