SERBIA: Draft Law on Personal Data Protection in Serbia

SERBIA, 09/10/2008

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), voices its support for proposed amendments forwarded to the Serbian National Parliament on 18 September 2008, altering the Draft Law on Personal Data Protection.

SEEMO particularly welcomes the proposed amendment to remove section 2 of Article 45, which restricts the role of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, who generally acts on behalf of Serbia’s citizens. Under this Article, the Commissioner is prevented from scrutinizing information collected by State representatives for purposes of clarifying whether such information was appropriately collected if State representatives have classified this information as important for national security. Such a restriction on the Commissioner’s oversight capabilities potentially facilitates illegal and uncontrolled activities by State representatives, including against journalists.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic lauded the proposed changes, emphasizing that, “journalists in Serbia are particularly vulnerable to State efforts to access their personal data for inappropriate purposes, and so we welcome this effort to ensure that they are better protected from such activity.”

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