The Agency for the Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information informs that citizens/public information seekers have recognized the E-Portal for Requesters as a tool for a quick way to obtain the required information possessed by the holders of the information. The data from the one-year implementation of this tool shows that 93 requests were submitted by information requesters to holders of public information through the E-Portal for Requesters.

Requesters have the right to request information from any public information holder and receive a response. This Free Access portal helps them electronically create and send a request for free access to public information. All the created requests are publicly available on the portal, and the requesters can familiarize themselves with the requests that were submitted to the information holders.

When a request is submitted to a specific information holder, the E-Portal will send an email when the submitted request is answered. Once a response is received, it will be publicly available on the E-Portal. If the applicant is not satisfied with the received answer, they can file a complaint with the Agency through the portal, which is an added value of the portal and a unique example of this type in European practice.

We would hereby like to emphasize that the E-Portal is mostly used by natural persons, with a total of 86 requests submitted so far. The fact that foreigners have also submitted 2 requests for free access is highly pleasing. This functionality was made possible by the Law on Free Access to Public Information itself. There are also 2 requests submitted by legal entities through the portal.

A total of 38 requests were submitted to the Municipality of Prilep, which is the highest number of received requests, while 5 requests were submitted to the Municipality of Centar. The applicants exercised their constitutional right by submitting requests for access to public information to all holders of information, i.e. to state institutions, municipalities, health institutions, holders from the judicial authority, public enterprises and institutions, as well as information holders representing educational institutions. This list further contains legal and natural persons holding public authority and performing public interest activities.

To this end, the Agency urges the information holders to act upon the submitted requests through the E-Portal and avoid the administration’s practice of silence. In that way, the information holders will be transparent and accountable in their work, i.e. they will practice reactive transparency in a timely manner. As a result, the appeal procedure will be avoided, and the applicants will be informed about the work of the institutions.

The European Commission also recognized the E-Portal for applicants as a good tool for accessing public information in its annual reports with a recommendation that it should be used as much as possible by applicants and information holders to provide information quickly and efficiently to the applicants.

Finally, the Agency invites all applicants to use the E-Portal for creating applications aimed at obtaining the necessary public information. 

The most important thing is to have well-informed citizens, above all.

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