UN, LA Rapporteurs Criticize Brazil on FOI Administration

30 June 2016

The United Nations and Inter-American Commission experts on freedom of expression on June 24 expressed their concern about Brazil’s “converting the National Controller’s Office (CGU) into a new Ministry of Transparency, Monitoring and Oversight.”

“In recent years, the main progresses made in Brazil in the promotion of the right to information in Brazil greatly benefited from the CGU’s work,” according to the Inter-American Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Edison Lanza.

Lanza said the institution helped to advance the 2011 Law on Access to Information. “Because of its direct link to the President’s Office, the CGU was able to offer an appeal opportunity for those whose access to information was denied by Ministries or other federal institutions. It is important to secure this authority in the new institutional arrangements,” he said.

UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, stated:

Organisations providing access to information and promoting accountability should be shielded from political interference. Any change in the functioning of the former CGU should be aimed at making it more autonomous and independent from determinations from the Executive office.

 Kaye, who also expressed concern regarding reports that the new Minister of Transparency suggested that staff unhappy with the new Government should leave the organization.

The two human rights experts initiated a dialogue with the Brazilian government on the compatibility of the measures taken by the authorities with international standards for the right to freedom of opinion and expression, according to the announcement.

The administration switch was recently criticized in a statement (in Spanish) by the Regional Alliance for Free Expression and Information. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

 

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