The Ministry of Interior in Macedonia tends to overclassify information which prevents our access when relying on the Freedom of Information Act, stated Magdalena Lembovska in an interview with the POINTPULSE.

By Mateja Agatonović (BCSP) / Photo:

Magdalena Lembovska is a research fellow at the Analytica, a non‐profit research institution from Macedonia. Lembovska is engaged in Analytica’s Foreign and Security Policy program. The POINTPULSE used the opportunity to talk with her, on the margin of the last week event in Pristina, about Analytica experience in building police integrity.

What is the biggest impact of your organization in tackling police corruption?

As the only think tank from Macedonia focusing on security-related issues, we showed that the civil society could (and should) play a role in an area that was traditionally seen as an exclusive task for state authorities. We do this by raising awareness on the importance of fighting police corruption, informing the citizens on the mechanisms to report police misconduct, but also providing policy recommendations to the stakeholders in order to improve their performance.

What are the challenges that you face in your communication with the police?

One of the biggest problems we have is access to data which are necessary for conducting a comprehensive and evidence-based analysis. The Ministry of Interior tends to overclassify information which prevents our access when relying on the Freedom of Information Act. Also, scheduling interviews with relevant people from the Police is often a challenging and time-consuming process as the decision making within the Ministry is very centralized.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of civil society networking on a regional level?

There are definitely many benefits of networking with colleagues from the region, including mutual learning, exchange of knowledge and experiences, but also opportunities for joint initiatives and bigger impact on a regional level. However, sometimes we have different priorities at a given time which can make the cooperation more difficult.

TAGS: Civil SocietyExternal OversightInterviewMacedoniaTransparency