Spanish Senate Approves Transparency Legislation

27 November 2013

The Spanish Senate has approved a Law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Governance, and passage by Congress is expected Nov. 28.

Few changes have been made to the Cabinet’s bill during the legislative, which critics say needed considerable improvement.

“The ruling Partido Popular has ignored civil society during the entire process of adopting the transparency law, and has proposed a law that violates minimum international standards,” Victoria Anderica Caffarena, Campaigner and Legal Researcher at Access Info Europe, said in a statement.

An analysis by Access Info Europe based on the Global RTI Rating indicators found that the law would rank 75th of 96 countries with access to information laws, with 68 out of a total of 150 points. Access Info has also posted a critique of the bill.

Critics said the law fails recognize access to information as a fundamental right, excludes too much information and does not create an oversight body that is independent and has binding power.

In June 2012, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe warned that the draft law “does not comply with the norms and principles already laid down by Human Rights Courts or international organisations including the Convention of the Council of Europe on Access to Public Documents”. The most recent message was sent on 13 September 2013 and said that the law would complicate the work of journalists acting as watchdogs.

Access Info reported that the following political groups and parties voted against the law: ERC, AMAIUR, IU, ENTESA PROGRES PER CATALUNYA y PSOE.

Once finally approved, the law will not come into force for a year at the national, and two years at the regional level.

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