Colombia President Signs Information Access Law

7 March 2014

President Juan Manuel Santos March 6 signed a new access to information law in Colombia saying it will help fight corruption.

It will come into effect in six months for national government agencies and in a year for local governments. The law in May of 2013 was approved by the constitutional court with a few deletions. (See previous report.)

“The signing of this law is great news for Colombia and the Americas! “ according to Moisés Sánchez, executive secretary of Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información. For information in Spanish read a report by Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa and media articles here, here, and here.

Among other changes, the new law no longer requires that citizens explain why they are requesting information.

The new law places an emphasis on proactive disclosure by government agencies on websites, the release of data and the creation of related technological tools.

It extends coverage of the law to all providers of public services, political parties, state contractors, and some nongovernmental organizations.

The government will be required to develop differential accessibility criteria that allow specific populations access to public information in various languages ??and languages ??that are required for easy access of ethnic and cultural population groups and disability status, according to the government description.

The posting of information in the information systems available and observing the provisions of the Government Online Strategy in regard to publication and dissemination of information are mandated.

More online availability of public procurement information is also part of the law.

The government will also be required to create and update asset register information.

One aspect of the law considered less positive is an expansive provision for national security information. (See previous report.)

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