Freedom info

WHEREAS the Guatemala Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act on September 23, which will come into effect on January 2009 WHEREAS Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet ratified on August 11 the Law on Transparency of Civil Servants Practices and the Freedom of Information for the Administration Bodies, which will come into force on April 2009 and will be supervised by the Transparency Council to ensure that it is correctly applied WHEREAS in the past years, in addition to Guatemala and Chile, countries such as Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic have passed similar laws, which also exist in Canada, the United States and Jamaica WHEREAS in Peru the Transparency Freedom of Information Law has experienced a serious backward step in its implementation, especially by the Parliament, whose members have been criticized for not dealing with the requests of information related to their operational expenses and income tax returns WHEREAS Argentine Parliament is still not resuming the debates on the bill which legislators shelved in late 2007, despite the fact that civic associations and the public supported it and that it had promised to seek a new agreement in 2008, the year the president gave the first news conference in the last two administrations WHEREAS in Paraguay the Parliament must resume the debate on an initiative regarding the Freedom of Information Act, taking advantage of the new open door policy designed by President Fernando Lugo, who in one of his first actions in office elevated the Communications Secretariat to the rank of Ministry WHEREAS the Colombian legislature is considering a bill to regulate the right to the information with severe consequences for journalism, since it would create an Information Council, made up of authorities and media outlets and journalists associations that could become a censorship court WHEREAS the Uruguay, the Senate approved on July 17 a Freedom of Information Bill that now awaits the approval of the House of Representatives, and was criticized because it contains many exceptions and allows the government to refuse to fulfill this right of the citizens WHEREAS Canada’s civic associations are concerned about a government decision to discontinue operations of a database that are vital for journalists and citizens concerning the government’s obligation to be accountable for its actions in a timely and systematic fashion WHEREAS in Nicaragua, an independent research study shows that authorities do not deal with the requests for access to government information in a proper way and that President Daniel Ortega’s government only gives some information to pro-Ortega media outlets, and although the Freedom of Information law has been implemented, its letter and its spirit have not been duly fulfilled WHEREAS in Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Venezuela there have been restrictions on the journalists seeking official information WHEREAS in Ecuador the existing freedom of information law could be modified in the new Constitution WHEREAS although the Constitution of Brazil (1988) guarantees the right to Freedom of Information, its implementation is limited thus, on April 15, the United Nations Human Rights Council recommended that Brazil's National Congress pass the Freedom of Information Act WHEREAS in Barbados and Guyana no progress has been made in the promise to pass Freedom of Information Laws WHEREAS El Salvador has two Freedom of Information bills, and the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) supports one of them WHEREAS in Honduras, despite the fact that there is a Transparency and Freedom of Information Law, several officials block its implementation WHEREAS principle 3 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “The authorities must be compelled by law to make public records available in a timely and reasonable manner” THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to urge those countries with Freedom of Information Acts to fulfill their regulations and application and to promote educational campaigns for the citizens about how they can exercise freedom of information to demand that Peru’s legislature reconsider the dimension of the law to achieve true administrative transparency in all public sectors to ask the Ecuadorean government and legislative committee that the pending new communications laws respect the spirit of the mandates guaranteed in the freedom of information law to exhort the Argentine, Brazil and Paraguay legislatures to resume debates on the Freedom of Information Act as a mandate of openness, government transparency and the democracy of their countries to demand that the Colombian and Uruguayan legislatures ensure and examine their current bills to meet the international standards on transparency and freedom of information and to prevent future laws from limiting information from the public sector to urge the Nicaraguan government to meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, so journalists can get information controlled by the government to exhort Brazil’s National Congress to comply with the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Council to guarantee government transparency and to make information on civil servants’ work and the government available to all citizens to exhort all Western Hemisphere governments to approve legislation to strengthen democratic life through constitutional guarantees of the public’s right to seek and receive information.