Make use of the selection of commissioners to address key issues
Civil society organisations propose to Members of Parliament to make use of the presence of the candidate, Milan Marinović, for the new Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection at the National Assembly session beginning today and therefore help the public determine what are the attitudes of the candidate regarding the resolution of key problems in the areas of his future work. At the same time, we urge Mr Marinović to make the public aware of his attitudes on these issues and in the event that they are not raised by the Members of Parliament.
The presentation of the candidates, organised by the Committee of Culture and Information, was not organised in a way that would allow the candidates for the Commissioner to inform the MPs and the public about all important issues related to the work of this important institution.
We consider it particularly important for the public to become acquainted with the attitudes and plans of the future Commissioner for solving problems identified in the work reports, namely: 1) key provisions of the existing laws on free access to information and protection of personal data that should be improved; 2) attitude towards the intended restriction of the right to access information related to the operation of state-owned companies based on the draft amendments to the 2018 Law; 3) attempts to completely exclude the right of access to certain information by provisions of other laws; 4) proposals on how to overcome the problem of non-implementation of the Commissioner’s final decisions; 5) the problem of insufficient control over the implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information and a small number of initiated misdemeanour proceedings, for which administrative inspection is currently competent.
Moreover, given that the implementation of the new Law on Personal Data Protection starts in just under a month, it is essential for the public to be informed of the Commissioner’s plans regarding: 1) the adoption of by-laws necessary for the implementation of the Law; 2) a plan to overcome the practical implications of the shortcomings of the new Law, including the non-regulation in the field of video surveillance, the inconsistency of certain provisions of the Law with the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the vaguely regulated procedure for the protection of citizens’ rights and the observation of the implementation of the Law, as recently pointed out by the European Commission in the Study on harmonisation of the GDPR with EU regulations; 3) informing and educating data controllers and citizens about new obligations and rights envisaged by the new Law.
We believe that discussing these issues would be the best introduction to successfully carrying out the function of the commissioner and building public confidence. This kind of debate would also significantly help Members of Assembly understand in which way they can best help more successful implementation of two citizens’ constitutional rights – access to information on the work of government bodies and protection of personal data.