Mexican Groups Criticize FOI Bill Adopted by Senate

25 November 2015

The Mexican Senate Nov. 18 easily approved a Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Information that civil society groups argue contradicts some elements of the underlying “general law” on FOI.

Ana Cristina Ruelas, Program Officer Access to Information Article 19, said the bill will prevent the commissioners of the National Institute for Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (NACI) to have access to information that is classified as confidential to determine whether it should be disclosed.

Civil society critics also say the bill will undermine the commission’s ability to deal with disclosures involving human righrts violations.

Another concern is that the bill does not establish procedures for when the Legal Adviser of the Presidency may file to prevent disclosure of information on national security grounds, a gap that could lead to long delays, Ruelas said, according to an article (in Spanish) in Animal Politico. Also see a report on the Senate vote in Economcia and a Processo article.

In the discussion in the Senate, Manuel Bartlett warned that the new law is unconstitutional and has “serious shortcomings.” The bill passed 88-3 with three abstentions.

The collective organizations going under the banner of “Transparency Now!” — including Alianza Civica, Fundar, Equipo Pueblo, Article 19 and Cencos – criticized the bill in a statement (in Spanish).

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