"Institutions are not willing to cooperate"

Milorad Ivanovic, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek Serbia

Does it surprise you that the law about access to public information in your country is among the best in the world?

Milorad Ivanovic Milorad Ivanovic (photo: privat)

In the last two decades, Serbia is always at the bottom of all possible lists - the unhappiest people in the world, highest corruption in Europe, lowest trust in institutions... So I was pleased to see Serbia on the top on this list - although I was not very surprised. In the region of the Balkans, it is well known facts that individuals and not institutions are the one who can make the best and the worst things. We in Serbia are very lucky to have a very strong, very dedicated Commissioner, Mr Rodoljub Sabic. He is the one who is responsible for this and this is his result.

Do you as an investigative journalist experience openness as a consequence of this law? Or is it just nice words on a sheet of paper?

In the last couple of years, I used the FIA law many times, and I have to admit that the results are more than positive.

Is there an efficient mechanism supporting you when authorities deny access?

My experience shows that institutions are not willing to cooperate in the first instance, but we have a very dedicated Commissioner and he and his team are doing their best to make sure that the law should be followed by the institutions.

Is the law controversial in national politics?  Is there a stable majority supporting it?

It would be very interesting to see what will happen once the present Commissioner and his team leave their position and new persons arrive. It will be the first and most important test that will show if this was only a one-time incident or something that Serbian society recognize as benefit and something that is worth fighting for.