CSOs in Serbia demand role in drafting public information system

Civil society organisations (CSOs) dealing with freedom of expression, information, media, the position of journalists and other issues important for citizen information urges the Serbian government to include CSOs in the working group for the development of a new strategy for the development of the public information system, also referred to as Media Strategy.

Policies adopted by the Government of Serbia and the National Assembly point to the importance of CSOs in the development of strategic documents. The formulation of objectives, expressing the need for accuracy and timeliness of information, as well as citizens’ participation in defining the public interest, is of great importance for Serbians. Without the involvement of CSOs, public interests defining the strategy, cannot be adequately represented.

Guidelines for the involvement of CSOs in the decision-making process, adopted by the Government’s conclusion on 26 August 2014, define the involvement of organizations as “a higher level of a two-way process through which representatives of the CSOs are actively involved in the drafting process (eg membership in working groups for drafting regulations) “.

Also, the Guidelines state, “In order to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and economy, participation of civil society organizations should be provided at the time and in the manner when there is a real possibility of influencing drafts or proposals of regulations, that is, at the early stage of their elaboration, when all opportunities for their changes are still open. In the drafting process, that is proposed regulation, experts as representatives of CSOs may be appointed as members of working groups in accordance with applicable regulations or on the basis of a public call.”

The Plan System Law, adopted on 19 April 2018, sets out the principle of publicity and partnership, “which implies that public policies are identified within the framework of a transparent and consultative process, that is, during the preparation and implementation of planning documents, as well as the analysis of the effects and evaluation of the effects of public policy, carries out a transparent process of consultation with all stakeholders and target groups, including associations and other CSOs, scientific and research organisations and other organisations, taking into account the exercising of individual legal and other interests of all stakeholders and target groups, with simultaneous protection of the public interest.”

Around 30 CSOs in Serbia welcomed the openness of the Government of Serbia to include journalistic and media associations in the working group for strategy development. They also urged that the same involvement be extended to CSOs.

For inquiries, contact: Irina Lupu, The Romanian NGDO Platform – FOND / CPDE European Regional Secretariat thru irina.lupu@fondromania.org

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