Ruling party MP accuses media and NGOs of using FOIA to endanger national security

July 15, 2019

A group of media outlets and non-governmental organisations, including research centres and organisations that carry out oversight on the work of the Serbian authorities, has called on the Government of Serbia and the National Assembly not to use institutions to settle accounts with independent media outlets and civil society organisations.

This reaction came after Aleksandar Martinović, head of MPs of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, used a session of the national assembly to accuse journalists and individuals from NGOs of endangering national security with requests made on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Martinović made the statement during a debate on the annual report of the Commissioner for free access to information of public importance, accusing this institution of being “a service and branch office of various CINS, KRIK, BIRN, BIRODI (Bureau for Social Research ), Nataša Kandić (founder of the Humanitarian Law Centre), Nemanja Nenadić (Transparency Serbia), and so on, which actually sought from the competent state authorities, in most cases, very sensitive data in security terms”.

In a statement signed jointly by the editorial offices of CINS, KRIK, BIRN, Istinomer, TV N1 and weekly news magazine Vreme, as well as NGOs Transparency Serbia and CRTA, it is warned that this is about the targeting of journalists and civil society organisations to suggest that requests on the basis of FOIA are contrary to the interests of our country, and that is part of the “continuous pressure exerted on the work of independent and professional media companies”.