Freedom of information

WHEREAS on April 21 the Freedom of Public Information Act will take effect in Guatemala WHEREAS while in Chile the Law on Transparency of Public Administration and Freedom of Information of the Administrative Agencies of the State should take effect on April 20, its effectiveness could be threatened since there is no indication that the government has given it sufficient priority WHEREAS the freedom of information law was approved in Uruguay WHEREAS a study at the University of Costa Rica showed a retreat in access to information, pointing out that several government agencies do not have standard procedures for providing information about budgets and public expenditures WHEREAS in El Salvador the freedom of information bill is stalled in the National Congress WHEREAS in Honduras the freedom of information law has been in effect for a year and a half but the government is still being criticized for not having educated the public about its use WHEREAS in recent years, in addition to Guatemala, Chile, Uruguay and Honduras, other countries, including Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and the Dominical Republic have adopted similar laws, and there are others in the United States, Canada and Jamaica WHEREAS in several Latin American countries, like Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti and Venezuela, journalists have been restricted from obtaining government information WHEREAS principle 3 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “The authorities must be compelled by law to make available in a timely and reasonable manner the information generated by the public sector. No journalist may be forced to reveal his or her sources of information” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to insist that nations with freedom of information laws apply them and promote educational campaigns so citizens are informed and understand the scope of the law and how to use it to ask the government and National Congress of El Salvador to advance the discussions about the freedom of information law as a sign of openness, transparency and democracy to urge all the governments of the Western Hemisphere to pass legislation to solidify the democratic path of the country with this constitutional guarantee that expresses the public’s right to seek and receive information.