Access to Information

WHEREAS in Argentina the access of journalists to official sources continues to be extremely limited; President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has not given a single press conference so far in 2012, but she has used national television hook-ups twenty times to make different announcements not justified by law, and on many occasions she has scolded the press; and, on the other hand, approval of a law on access to public information continues to await signing WHEREAS in Bolivia the two single supreme decrees on access to information are not fully followed by authorities of public institutions in any of the three branches of government, and a bill of law on this topic, prepared four years ago, has been filed away in Parliament WHEREAS in Canada the government has been accused of arbitrarily invoking national security as a reason to block release of documents to the Canadian press and of acting on only half of requests for official information within the period of thirty days contemplated by law WHEREAS in El Salvador different institutions have requested implementation of the Institute for Access to Information, created by means of the Law on Access to Public Information, in effect since May 8, as well as the appointment of its members, a responsibility of President Mauricio Funes WHEREAS in Haiti a lack of access to public information continues to be one of the greatest obstacles to freedom of the press, and journalists critical of the government have denounced evasion and obstruction on the part of government workers, which has been demonstrated through the denial of interviews, limitation of access to information, and blocking of contacts with authorities WHEREAS in Nicaragua isolation and a lack of access to public information continue to be severe, and the government only reports through what it has called citizen-power media, a conglomerate of government and family-owned media WHEREAS in Panama, according to a report on the state of freedom of expression by the Forum Foundation of Journalists for Freedom of Expression and Information, seventy-seven percent of journalists consulted said that they had experienced a denial to access to public information WHEREAS in Uruguay it has been found that a number of governmental agencies have declared a good part of the information related to their management to be reserved, interpreting in an ambiguous way some exceptions contemplated under the Law on Access to Public Information WHEREAS in Venezuela access to public information is made impossible, whether in relation to questions on corruption scandals, coverage of a prison crisis, or daily insecurity; and such restrictions are aggravated when many of the public institutions do not answer requests for information from the media; rather, in most cases they issue official communiqués that leave doubts that are never clarified. THE 68th IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES To urge authorities in Argentina to guarantee to citizens and the media unrestricted access to sources of public information To exhort the three branches of the Bolivian government to adhere rigorously to the decrees in effect on access to information. To urge Congress to take up again the discussion of a bill on this topic, which remains filed away, in order to guarantee transparency in official management To solicit the chief executive of Canada not to abuse the exceptions contemplated in the rules on access to official information, and to answer requests for information within the period of time specified by law To demand that the government of El Salvador implement the Law on Access to Public Information in the shortest time possible and appoint those charged with overseeing its enforcement To demand that the government of Haiti show transparency in governmental management and authorize access to public information to the press and general citizenry, as well as push for passing of rules on the matter Ask the government of Nicaragua to conform to the criteria and regulation of the Law on Access to Public Information in order to provide, and to be able to obtain without restriction, information related to activities of the state Remind the government of Panama that its citizens have the right to seek and receive public information without being obligated to justify some specific interest in order to obtain it. To urge the chief executive of Uruguay to apply the presumption of access in favor of authorizing official information instead of interpreting the list of exceptions set in the Law on Access to Public Information in such a broad and discretionary way To demand that the government of Venezuela respond to requests for information from the media, instead of making use of official communiqués characterized by a lack of transparency in regard to governmental actions.