Venezuelan Court Denies Access to Salary Info

23 July 2010

The Venezuelan Supreme Court July 15 said that disclosure of the salaries of public officials would violate their privacy and that requestors must justify their requests.

The court denied a request by Asociación Espacio Público for the salaries of officials in the Office of the Comptroller General.  The court said there is not absolute right to the information.

For a Spanish language newspaper reports on the decision, see articles in El Universal and El Tiempo.

The London-based freedom of expression group Article XIX July 23 protested:

The acceptance of the right to information will sometimes require balancing with other rights. However, best practices around the world have indicated that the public interest resulting from transparency and openness of public accounts takes precedence over the rights of civil servants to keep their salaries confidential. Also, there are ways to disclose the salaries of officials by ranks, while preserving their identity.

Furthermore, the right of access to information is based on the assumption that information held by public institutions is the property of the public, so there should be no obligation placed upon the public to explain why they need the information requested.

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