Puerto Rico


78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain


Access to public information continues to be a serious challenge for citizens and the press - requiring the use of legal action to assert the right to access government-held information.

During this period, legal actions were filed against the government, particularly the Department of Natural Resources, the Highway and Transportation Authority, the Electric Power Authority, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Safety and several municipalities, among others. At times government agencies ignored requests for public information, until they were requested through judicial action. The Judiciary was sometimes reluctant to impose sanctions on agencies that denied information.

Besides the Puerto Rican government, the private consortium LUMA Energy, LLC - the company that operates the country's power grid - has demonstrated its opposition to providing information about its publicly funded operations, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona - a new emergency that tested the country's governance and planning capacity.

LUMA Energy's lack of transparency led to a Supreme Court dispute when it twice denied requests for information on the salaries of its workers and executives. The company refused to report on the operation of its publicly funded power transmission and distribution system, arguing that a private company is not required to provide such information. The president of LUMA Energy faced an arrest warrant for failing to provide information to the House of Representatives.

Several bills to amend transparency laws and to protect journalists' confidential sources have yet to become law.

On April 5, a bill to amend the Law on Transparency and Expedited Procedure was introduced seeking to reduce the exceptions for denial of public information deemed confidential by the government, shorten the deadlines for the release of information, and create more administrative sanctions.

On June 21, the Senate approved a bill to eliminate secrecy in proceedings related to the Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act.

Since January 24 of this year, a bill to create a "Law to Protect Journalistic Sources" has been pending in the legislature - so that journalists or reporters will not be forced to reveal the identity of their sources or be sanctioned for refusing to do so. This bill establishes penalties and protection for journalists, media and sources.

On August 15, the Senate approved a bill to establish the Reporter's Privilege, so that a journalist cannot be held in contempt by a government agency for refusing to reveal his or her source or refusing to disclose any published or unpublished information obtained or prepared in his or her collection of data.

The Center for Investigative Journalism went to court in July seeking access to public information from the Puerto Rico Insurance Administration on the use of medical plans participating in the government health plan from 2012 to the present.

In June, GFR Media, LLC, filed a lawsuit against the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority seeking information on the country's infrastructure - including research, contracts and invoices related to bridges.