FIVE EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS ON EXERCISING THE RIGHT OF FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED UNDER THE PREMISE THAT “CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW”
The Agency for the Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information and the Association for Democratic Initiative, as part of the USAID Project for Citizen Participation, successfully realized five informational and educational sessions for young people, journalists, representatives of civil society organizations and institutions on exercising the right to free access to public information. The regional educational sessions were held in Gostivar, Bitola, Kumanovo, Shtip, and Struga.
The main goal of these sessions was to clarify how to submit a request for access to public information and encourage the public to utilize the right to request information from the institutions more actively. In turn, the institutions should elevate the right to access public information to a higher level, which will constitutionally guarantee the right to free access to public information.
At the sessions, the citizens were informed about the work of the Agency as the only state body that works in the sphere of protection of the right to free access to public information. It was also pointed out that the Agency encourages all institutions at the central and local levels to raise the right of access to public information at a higher social level by increasing and promoting proactive transparency within their institutions.
Furthermore, it was emphasized that “citizens have the right to access public information and services provided by the institutions, to know how their money is spent, to monitor whether that spending is rational, and to be able to participate in decision-making and the creation of policies.”
Ultimately, the right to free access to public information is an efficient mechanism of public service control by citizens, a foundation for good governance, increasing the transparency of institutions and ensuring significant participation of citizens in public life.