14th May 2021


Montenegrins are free to not answer questions in the census

In reply to an comment on the forthcoming census in Montenegro, MONSTAT, the statistical agency, writes: Montenegrin citizens are not obliged to disclose their religious, ethnic or even national identities, if they are not willing to. According to the Census Taking Methodology, a document adopted by MONSTAT, citizens are free to go with the answer for example: "I do not wish to disclose this information". During the last census almost 5% of the Montenegrin populace went with these option, and, guess what, they suffered no disadvantage or inconvenience of any kind. Moreover, the Montenegrin citizen who takes part in the census, has to be left with a copy of the questionnaire signed by the census clerk. Participating is indeed compulsory, as it is in many EU member countries. MONSTAT's proposed methods are in full compliance with United Nations recommendations and EU standards. In order to ensure that, MONSTAT has worked closely with experts from the EU in preparing the census. Apart from the questions about people's ethnic, religious or linguistic affiliation, the census questionnaire includes around 50 other important questions about education, efficient use of energy, living conditions, ICT literacy, employment and health.The census should be considered the pretty much day to day and unexciting job of statisticians around the country, not a secret plot to bring people under an Orwellian tyranny.

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The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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