Spanish Minister to Decide on Proposing Transparency Law

19 March 2011

Spain’s Ministry of the Presidency on March 17 promised civil society organizations of Spain’s Coalicion Pro Acceso to say, within one month, whether the Spanish government will propose freedom of information legislation.

 Minister Ramón Jáuregui told the coalition that the law has not been definitively shelved, despite the press of other business, and that he will make a decision within a month, according to a press release.

 Coalition members urged him to make a proposal and criticized the opacity of the process thus far.

“The urgent should not block the important,” commented Professor Manuel Sánchez de Diego, “and the right of access to information is an extremely important matter. It is a right essential for improving efficiency of the public administration, for drastically reducing corruption, and for stimulating the economy; transparency can be a positive influence in times of crisis.”

Jesús Lizcano, of Transparencia Internacional, pointed to the lack of transparency in the process of adopting the law. According to the coalition’s press release, the minister apologized for not replying to the coalition’s January letter.  The meeting was scheduled after coalition organized a campaign of Twitter messages to the minister.

 According to the press release:

During the meeting, the Coalition presented its analysis of the draft law, underlining the need to recognise that access to information is a fundamental right, part of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the need to widen the scope of the law and to include, among other things, data bases.

The Coalition team explained that the current legal framework and transparency initiatives in Spain need to be brought together in one law and in this sense that, as Ana Etchenique of CECU stressed, “the right of access to information is essential to ensure a relation of equality and trust between the citizen and political power.

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