Andean Group Evaluating Freedom of Information

31 December 2010

The Andean Group of Freedom of Information (GALI) has begun a project to evaluate national legislation on freedom of expression and access to information.  

GALI plans to identify the strengths and weaknesses freedom of expression of laws in each of the five countries — Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela — in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to see if they meet international standards.  The research will be done using UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators, particularly the category 1. 

The project was agreed on at a meeting in November 2010 in Quito, Ecuador.  The Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) of the University of Palermo (Argentina) and the UNESCO Office in Quito organized the meeting.  Also discussed was how new technology platforms may improve freedom of expression monitoring mechanisms, in particular the scope and accuracy of the registration processes, the dissemination of alerts, and the indicators and statistics produced by the monitoring system, according to a UNESCO announcement.

CELE will initially monitor the collection of data on these new issues until June 2011. In July 2011 there will be a second meeting of the GALI organizations in order to assess progress and problems encountered during that period. The scope of the new monitoring system will then be finally decided, as well as the strategies to be implemented to improve the current mechanisms.

 This activity was organized within the framework of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) regional project, Strengthening Monitoring of Freedom of Expression in the Andean Region.

The GALI member organizations widened the scope of the issues covered by the freedom of expression monitoring mechanism, in order to include the following:

  • legal and administrative processes against journalists,
  • mandatory dissemination of governmental content,
  • sudden withdrawal of public advertising, and
  • arbitrary cancellation of radio and television licenses.

 The GALI organizations are:

  • Fundamedios, Ecuador
  • National Press Asociation (Asociación Nacional de la Prensa, ANP), Bolivia
  • Press and Society Institute (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS), Colombia
  • Press and Society Institute (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS), Perú
  • Press and Society Institute (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS), Venezuela

The Foundation for Press Freedom (Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa, FLIP), Colombia, does not belong to GALI but was a special guest at the meeting, since it monitors freedom of expression in Colombia.

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