Access to public information

Resolution - Mid-year Meeting April 17 - 19, 2024
WHEREAS, there have been reports of limitations on or denial of access to public information in Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Venezuela, which represent an obstacle to freedom of expression and the public's right to information
WHEREAS that these restrictions call into question and hinder guarantees of transparency, integrity, and accountability in public administration, as well as respect for freedom of expression and press freedom, among other rights, and that this is contrary to the democratic principles of accountability of a State

WHEREAS, in Bolivia, the National Service for Protected Areas (Sernap) prohibited its staff from disseminating reports on forest deforestation, contravening the right of access to information

WHEREAS that in Cuba, the State has absolute control of the powers and jealously guards public information, as there are no regulations to guarantee that citizens have access to public information beyond the official version authorized by the government

WHEREAS in El Salvador, requests for information are rejected, and citizens, the media, and academia are blocked from accessing requested public documentation. At the same time, the government threatens to fire, prosecute, or punish internal sources
WHEREAS, in the United States, President Joe Biden continues to be criticized for being less accessible to the press than his predecessors, and at the state level, several bills have been introduced to expand access to public records

WHEREAS, in Nicaragua, more access to public information is still needed despite a provision to that effect in Law No. 621 of 2007 on Access to Public Information
WHEREAS, in Paraguay, two journalists denounced the State before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the denial of access to information on the Itaipú Binacional hydroelectric power plant

WHEREAS, in Puerto Rico, denying requests for information requires recourse to the courts to order public agencies to comply with the Transparency Law and the constitutional principles on access to information

WHEREAS, in Venezuela, limitations on access to information persist, and the Law on Transparency and Access to Information of Public Interest, enacted in 2021, is still in place

WHEREAS, the OAS Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression states: "The right of access to information is a specific manifestation of the freedom of expression protected by Article 13 of the American Convention" and "is particularly important for the consolidation, functioning, and preservation of democratic systems of government"

WHEREAS the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights states in its fourth point that access to information held by the State is a fundamental right of individuals. States are obliged to guarantee the exercise of this right. This principle only admits exceptional limitations that must be previously established by law in the case of a real and imminent danger that threatens national security in democratic societies"

WHEREAS, the Declaration of Chapultepec, in its third principle, states: "The authorities should be legally bound to make available to citizens, in a timely and equitable manner, the information generated by the public sector."


To reject the restrictions on access to information suffered by journalists and the media in Bolivia, Cuba, the United States, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela

To reiterate to the governments of the Americas that they suspend practices that restrict laws on access to public information, that they dismantle the culture of secrecy, and that they do not hinder the work of the press.