Sufficient Number of States Support Mexican FOI Reforms

29 January 2014

Having achieved sufficient support from the Mexican states, amendments to the Mexican Constitution making changes to the freedom of information law are another step closer to implementation.

Eighteen state Congresses have ratified the reforms.

The next stage, which could take a year, is for the Senate to write the implementation rules which later much be approved by the lower chamber, according to media accounts, including an article in Excelsior (in Spanish).

The constitutional reform establishes that three general laws must be voted by the Congress: one regarding to access to information, one regarding archives and one for personal data. See a description of the changes (in Spanish).

Among numerous changes, the reforms enhance the autonomy to the Federal Institute of Access to Information and Data Protection (IFAI). States ratifying the reforms are: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur , Campeche , Chiapas, Coahuila , Colima , Durango, Jalisco, Mexico , Nayarit, Puebla , Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi , Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Final Senate passage came on Nov. 20, 2013 and House passage came on Nov. 26. For description of the changes see previous report.

The amendments will make IFAI resolutions generally the final ruling in cases challenging information requests, however, the reforms include one exception.

Lingering concern exist about this exception, that allows for the judicial council of the executive branch (Consejero Jurídico del Ejecutivo Federal) to intervene and challenge before the Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación – SCJN) concerning IFAI resolutions that order the disclosure of records that contain sensitive national security information.

The law now covers unions, companies, political parties and any organization that receives public resources, allowing for citizens to send information requests directly to these bodies.

The commission will be expanded from five to seven members.

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