Colombian President Signs Decree Implementing Law

22 January 2015

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Jan. 20 signed a decree implementing the Transparency and Access to Information Act (Law 1712) approved by Congress in early 2014.

Santos said in a declaration that he wants 2015 to be the year of peace and also of fighting against corruption.

He invited every Colombian citizen to use the new law and proactively collaborate with the state in using the new law as a tool to combat corruption, according to a report in el Meridiano (in Spanish).

Santos signed the new law on March 6, 2014. (See previous report.) The decree provides details on every article of the law, which became effective Sept. 6.

Among other things, the new law eliminates the requirement that citizens explain why they are requesting information. It emphasizes 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 are 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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