Argentina

What's New

  • 15 September 2016

    Argentina Approves FOI Bill; Senate Changes Rejected

    Argentina will have a freedom of information law (text) as the result of a 182-16 vote Sept. 14 in the Chamber of Deputies. The House passed its original version, using a two-thirds majority to discard the Senate version, according to reports (in Spanish) in La Nation, Chequeado, Parliamentario, Urgente24, Clarinx, The chairman of the Committee on Constitutional […]

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  • 9 September 2016

    Argentina’s Senate Removes State Firms From FOI Bill

    The Argentinian Senate on Sept. 7 approved an access to information law, 44-15, but only after deleting a provision applying it to state-majority-owned companies (YPF). The change forced by a coalition of opposition parties means that the bill will be returned for reconsideration to the Chamber of Deputies, where it was approved almost unanimously. (See […]

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News Archive

  • 19 May 2016

    Argentinian Deputies Approve Access to Information Bill

    Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies has given overwhelming approval to a law on Access to Public Information. The vote on the bill presented by Deputy Karina Banfi was 229-4, with one abstention, after five hours of debate, according to media reports (in Spanish) such as ones in La Neuva, Terra, and another, with more detail, in Parliamentario.com. “We […]

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  • 24 March 2016

    OAS Rapporteur Emphasizes Access to Info for Women

    The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has called for improved access of information for women and better government data on issues affecting women. The recommendations and considerable supporting research are included in an annual report (in English and in Spanish) from Special Rapporteur […]

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  • 3 March 2016

    Karina Banfi Proposes FOI Bill in Argentina’s Legislature

    Argentinian legislator Karina Banfi has introduced a Draft Law on Access to Public Information (File 6593-16). Noting that the right of access to public information is a human right, Banfi stressed that the law is vital to more democratic forms of communication between civil society and the state, according to an article. The development of […]

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  • 17 January 2016

    Macri Orders Disclosures; Issues Open Data Decree

    Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has signed an Open Data Decree (117/2016) that sets a 180-day deadline for federal agencies to present open data plans. The six-month deadline began with the publication of the decree, Jan. 12 in the Official Reporter. Also, the Modernisation Ministry has ordered that in 90 days all public bodies must publish […]

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  • 30 December 2015

    Macri Government Begins Work on Argentinian FOI Bill

    The new government of President Mauricio Macri has opened consultations on a draft freedom of information law, meeting with representatives of nongovernmental organizations, according to a report in La Nacion. National parliamentarians, representatives of non-governmental organizations and officials from various areas of the executive branch recently met for a disucssion on developing a consensus bill […]

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  • 11 November 2015

    Argentina Court Orders State Oil Company to Disclose

    The Argentine Supreme Court of Justice on Nov. 10 ordered disclosure of documents by a state-owned oil company notwithstanding arguments that the firm was excluded from Executive Decree 1172/03 that implements the right of access to public information. The court said it has the authority to harmonize the interpretation of federal rulings such as the Executive Decree […]

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  • 13 August 2015

    Court in Argentina Orders Senate to Disclose Data

    An Argentinian judge has ordered the National Senate to provide information about its budget, employees and their salaries. A group of NGO´s (Poder Ciudadano, ACIJ, ADC and Directorio Legilsativo) filed two access to public information requests in 2014 before the National Senate. They asked for the budget allocated to the Senate during the years 2011, […]

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  • 5 February 2015

    Debate intelligently: more openness, less secrecy

    By Eduardo Bertoni The author is Director of the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) at the University of Palermo. Also in Spanish. This week started in the Honorable Senate of Argentina the debate on the reform of the Law 25,520 , known as the “Law of National Intelligence” […]

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  • 14 October 2014

    Argentina’s Supreme Court Backs RTI for Legislator

    The Supreme Court of Justice from Argentina on Oct. 14 issued two decisions supporting the right of access to information. In both cases the defendant, the national government, said that the plaintiff, a national congressman, was not entitled to ask for public information, because he had require it as a legislator. The Court, however, said […]

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  • 4 April 2014

    Argentine Court Rules for Access Over Privacy

    The Supreme Court of Justice in Argentina has ordered the Ministry of Social Development to release information about persons who receive social welfare payments. The case was won by CIPPEC (Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento – the Centre for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth), an Argentine nongovernmental […]

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  • 4 December 2012

    Argentine Supreme Court Issues Major FOI Decision

    The Argentine Supreme Court of Justice Dec. 4 issued a landmark ruling (in Spanish), ordering the government to provide access to information based on the Constitution’s guarantee of a right to information. The court told the National Institute for Retirees and Pensioners (PAMI) to provide information on its advertising budget, which had been requested by […]

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  • 26 November 2012

    Argentine Supreme Court Hears Significant FOI Case

    By Dolores Lavalle Cobo Lavalle Cobo is an Argentine lawyer, member of Centro para la Información Ciudadana (Center for Citizen´s Information) and author of books and articles. Nov. 22 was a significant day for the right of access to information in Argentina. While in Congress the draft of a bill implementing access as a constitutional right is about […]

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  • 23 November 2012

    Clock Runs Out on Effort to Pass FOI Law in Argentina

    Efforts to pass a freedom of information law in Argentina will need to begin from the beginning. The time limit for action by the House passed without action, leaving the 2010 Senate-passed bill in limbo. The Senate legislation was forwarded to several committees (called commissions) – the Constitutional Affairs Commission, the Justice Commission and the […]

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  • 6 November 2012

    Argentina Joins OGP, Becomes 58th Member

    Argentina has committed to join the Open Government Partnership, bringing OGP membership to 58. A short notice posted on the OGP website Nov. 6 links to the brief letter dated Oct. 29 from the Argentine government. Argentina will become the 58th country to participate in OGP, and the 14th from Latin America. “OGP welcomes Argentina’s […]

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  • 6 November 2012

    Argentinian President Issues Declassification Decree

    Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner has issued a decree declassifying decrees and resolutions that had been kept secret in the past, but with exceptions. The Oct. 31 decree says disclosure will not occur if the decrees or resolutions relate to national security, homeland security, foreign relations, conflicts with other states and military conflicts in the South […]

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  • 2 July 2012

    Argentina: Lights and Shadows in a New Provincial Law

    By Natalia Torres Torres is Senior Researcher for the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information  (CELE) in Argentina. See this article Spanish. In a recognized paper, Pollitt and Bouckaert laid out in words and evidence a fact that has been obvious for analysts of public policy: “All other things being […]

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  • 2 July 2012

    Argentina: claroscuros de una nueva ley provincial

    Por Natalia Torres, Investigadora Principal del CELE En un célebre trabajo, Pollitt y Bouckaert le pusieron palabras y evidencia a un hecho bastante obvio para los que analizamos políticas públicas: “Todo el resto de las variables constantes, las reformas en los estados descentralizados –ya sean unitarios o federales- tienden a tener menos alcance y a […]

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  • 13 January 2012

    Argentina: Opening Up the Governance of the Judiciary

    By Natalia Torres Torres is Senior Researcher at the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information  (CELE) in Argentina. See this article Spanish. At the end of December 1999 the National Congress approved the National Law of Ethics in the Practice of Public Functions.  This established, among other things, a process […]

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  • 13 January 2012

    Argentina: abriendo el gobierno de la justicia

    Por Natalia Torres Investigadora Principal del CELE, Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (See this article in English.) A fines de diciembre de 1999 el Congreso de la Nación aprobó la Ley Nacional de Ética en el Ejercicio de la Función Pública que establecía, entre otras cosas, un régimen para […]

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  • 24 June 2011

    Report Analyzes Access in 7 Latin American Countries

    An extensive new report examines access to information policies and practices in seven Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. The report is titled “?Venciendo la Cultura del Secreto. Obstáculos a la implementación de políticas y normas de acceso a la información en la región?” (“Overcoming the culture of secrecy. Obstacles […]

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  • 17 June 2011

    Against Automatic Secrecy: An Agentinian Case

    By Natalia Torres, CELE´s Senior Researcher Articles on freedom of information in Latin America, written by the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information  (CELE) in Argentina, will be a regular feature in FreedomInfo.org. See this article Spanish. On April 19th, the Supreme Court of Argentina ratified the decision of the National […]

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  • 17 June 2011

    Contra el Secreto Automático

    By Natalia Torres,  Investigadora Principal del CELE. El 19 de abril la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación de Argentina confirmó una sentencia de la Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones en lo Contencioso Administrativo haciendo lugar a la demanda de un particular para acceder a sus datos personales en sede de la Secretaría de Inteligencia […]

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  • 14 January 2011

    Argentine’s Access to Information Law: A Tale of Two Chambers

    By Natalia Torres Senior Researcher,  Center for Studies of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information In 2003, the Argentinean House of Representative endorsed a bill on access to information law. In accordance with our bicameral system, the bill was sent to the Senate for revision. During this revision process, the Senate committees modified the […]

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  • 1 October 2010

    Argentine Senate Passes Access to Information Bill

    The Argentine Senate Sept. 29 passed an access to information law bill. The vote was 38 to 26. La Nacion described the debate (in Spanish). The House must now act. A House committee has been considering another version of the bill, but activists said the House is now expectd to vote on the Senate bill. […]

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  • 10 September 2010

    Argentine Congress Advancing FOI Law

    Both houses of Argentina’s Congress are moving ahead with access to public information bills, and advocates are feeling optimistic. The Argentine Senate Sept. 9 approved “in general” an access to public information bill, and made plans for more detailed debate on its provisions on Sept. 30. In the House, the committees on Constitutional Affairs, Justice […]

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  • 14 January 2010

    Argentina: La Desclasificación de Documentos Militares sobre Derechos Humanos

    Por Carlos Osorio Buenos Aires, Argentina — El 5 de enero de 2010, la Presidenta Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner emitió el Decreto 4/2010 que levanta la clasificación de todos los documentos militares relacionados con las actividades de las fuerzas armadas entre 1976 y 1983. El decreto fue incitado a partir de miles de solicitudes dirigidas […]

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  • 14 January 2010

    Argentina: Declassification of Military Records on Human Rights

    By Carlos Osorio (Disponible en español) Buenos Aires, Argentina — On January 5, 2010, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner issued Decree 4/2010 lifting the classification of all military records related to activities of the armed forces between 1976 and 1983. The decree was prompted by thousands of requests to the Ministry of Defense coming from hundreds […]

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  • 2 December 2009

    World Bank Cautious on Media Development

    The goal of strengthening the media as one way to fight corruption was adopted by the World Bank in 2006, but the promise has gone virtually unfulfilled, according to research by freedominfo.org.

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  • 7 October 2009

    Saber Mas: New Report on Access to Information in Latin America

    Open government advocates offer first-hand accounts of FOI promotion in Latin America Latin America’s leading open government advocates recently released a report, bringing together data from 17 countries and offering new findings on the status of freedom of information in the region. The Regional Alliance for Freedom of Expression and Information (Alianza Regional para la […]

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  • 25 August 2009

    US Torture Files and Access to Human Rights Information

    By Jesse Franzblau and Emilene Martinez-Morales Washington, DC — The US government’s August 24, 2009, release of a controversial CIA 2004 Inspector General report on torture brings new attention to the issue of how information on human rights abuses is treated and should be treated under freedom of information laws. Deadlines set by a federal […]

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  • 19 June 2009

    Lessons from Media Coverage for the Right-to-Know in Latin America

    By Greg Michener In the last year or so, Latin America has been abuzz with news on right-to-know campaigns. But some countries have been buzzing louder than others. Uneven media attention to transparency policy is a global phenomenon with serious implications for institutional effectiveness, especially given the significant connection between news coverage and the strength […]

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  • 19 June 2009

    Closely Guarded EIB Framework Agreements Appear Largely Technical

    The European Investment Bank is proposing to disclose Framework Agreements only with the permission of the country partner, but the agreements appear to be largely technical and legal documents, judging from a very old one supplied by the Bank and a more recent one obtained by Freedominfo.org. The Bank’s reluctance to disclose the Framework Agreements […]

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  • 21 April 2009

    Disclosure Allegations about the West African Gas Pipeline Project

    In 2006, a case was brought to the Inspections Panel over the controversial West African Gas Pipeline Project. The list of disclosure-related allegations was extensive. According to the complainants, although West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) periodically consulted landowners, other stakeholders were wrongly excluded and the overwhelming majority of our people were not consulted during […]

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  • 28 September 2008

    Documenting Access to Information in Latin America: Legal Milestones and Success Stories

    Silvina Acosta – Program Manager, Trust for the Americas Emilene Martínez-Morales – Transparency Programs Coordinator, National Security Archive Washington DC, – The Right to Know made headlines in Latin America during the past year.  Just a few days ago the Guatemalan Congress approved an Access to Information Law. Chile’s Transparency and Access to Information Law […]

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  • 18 January 2008

    GTI Questions IMF Delay of Transparency Policy Review

    The Global Transparency Initiative has expressed concern about the decision by they International Monetary Fund to postponement review of the IMF Transparency Policy, originally scheduled for 2008. GTI wrote to IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn Dec. 17 after learning from the IMF’s External Relations Department that the next review of the Fund’s Transparency Policy, originally […]

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  • 27 June 2006

    Two Steps Forward, One Step Backwards: The Access to Information Campaign in Argentina

    By Martha Farmelo and Mariela Belski Martha Farmelo is Coordinator of the Freedom of Expression Program and Mariela Belski Coordinator of the Access to Public Information Program at the Buenos Aires-based Association for Civil Rights (www.adc.org.ar) Which is preferable, a severely flawed national access to information law, or no law at all? Freedom of information […]

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  • 15 April 2005

    Teaching Institute or Dance Bar? Putting Local Freedom of Information Legislation to Use in Argentina

    By Martha Farmelo Martha Farmelo is Co-Coordinator of the Access to Information Program at the Buenos Aires-based Association for Civil Rights (www.adc.org.ar). I’ve never slept particularly well the first night in a new home, what with the excitement of the move and all the strange, new sounds. Little did I expect the sounds of the […]

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  • 13 April 2004

    The Transparency Labyrinth in Argentina

    [See also: “The Freedom of Information Campaign in Argentina,” by Martha Farmelo, 14 OCTOBER 2003] A leader of Argentina’s openness movement, María Baron of the Centro de Implementacion de Politicas Publicas Para la Equidad y la Crecimiento, describes for freedominfo.org the reasons why President Nestor Kirchner decreed access to information rights in December 2003 (while […]

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  • 14 October 2003

    The Freedom of Information Campaign in Argentina

    [See also “The Transparency Labyrinth in Argentina” by María Baron, 13 APRIL 2004] Buenos Aires-based journalist Martha Farmelo reports for freedominfo.org on Argentina’s current campaign for a freedom of information law, which was passed in May 2003 by the lower house of the national congress and is now pending in the senate. Farmelo describes the […]

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links

LEGAL DOCUMENTS  

Argentine Constitution (Spanish, English)  

Access to Information Law (Spanish) (2016)

Access to Public Information Regulation  

Law Establishing Access to Environmental Information   ORGANIZATIONS  

Campaña saber es un derecho, que ahora sea una ley  

Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (Center for Human Rights and Environment)  

Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (Association for Civil Rights)  

El “Centro de Estudios para la Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información” (CELE)  

Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies

 

Cordoba Transparente

  HISTORICAL BACKGROUND   Click to view.   Text from the freedominfo.org Global Survey: Freedom of Information and Access to Government Records Around the World,   by David Banisar (updated July 2006)

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Argentine Constitution does not include a general right of access to public documents or information.(1) Article 43(3) recognizes a right of individuals to access and correct their own records held by public or private bodies. Also Article 41(2) obliges authorities to provide information on the environment. Many courts have recognized and stressed the importance of this right.(2) The courts have also recognized a number of cases under Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights.(3) The Access to Public Information Regulation was introduced by President Néstor Kirchner in 2003.(4) It applies to any agency, entity, organism or company established under the jurisdiction of the Executive Power. The Regulation applies also to companies that have received funds from the government. Information is defined as any document, recording, photograph, either in paper or magnetic media, created or obtained by any of the persons or entities that must comply with the Regulation or under its control, or created with government funds, or if it is going to be used in an official decision including official meetings. If the information does not exist, the requested agency has no duty to create it or compile it, unless there is a legal obligation for the State to create it. The Regulation established a presumption of publicity of all documents held by the subjects regulated by it. Access to documents is free of charge, unless reproduction is necessary. In that case the claimant must pay the price of requested copies. Any person, individual or company, is entitled to request and access public information without any requisite of standing, subjective right or representation by an attorney. Agencies have ten days to answer an access request. There are exemptions for documents and information affecting national defence, foreign policy, trade secrets, legal advice of government counsel, privacy and intimacy and sensitive data under the Data Protection Act, and information that may risk someone else's life. There is a right of internal appeal under the Administrative Procedure Act. Under this Act any person who requested access and did not received the information can file an administrative appeal to a higher authority. However, the administrative appeal is not mandatory so any party can choose to continue the appeal internally or file a claim in the administrative court. No cases have been filed under the Regulation. Government agencies that hold public information must organize an index of the information in order to facilitate access. Public information must be provided without any other qualification, except those provided in the Regulation Decree. The government must also generate, update and provide basic information with the aim of guiding the citizenship in its access to information. There is no provision requiring the government to provide the structure and activities or organisation of any agency. The government created a web site with a list and access to the web sites of the state agencies(5), and the Presidency maintains a web site(6) with information about the meetings that public officials have every day and description of all the agencies. The Cristal web site(7) also publishes budget information, lists of employees, and economic resources already or about to be spent by the government on the Internet as required by section 8 of Law 25.152.(8) The decree is generally considered good but there are continuing problems with implementation and creating a culture of transparency. A monitoring report conducted by the Association of Civil Rights (ADC) and the Open Justice Initiative found that of 140 information requests, 40 percent were not answered, 17 percent provided significant information, 14 percent had their request transferred and 8 percent received an oral refusal.(9) There are no published court cases. The decree has two major problems. First, it is a decree, so it can be amended at any moment by the Executive Power. Second, a decree of the Executive Power cannot create access obligations on the Legislative Power, the judicial power and other independent bodies of government (like the Ministerio Público or the Ombudsman). Thus, there is a need for an FOI law that covers all the government. In March 2002, the Executive introduced the FOI bill in Congress. Although some bills have been introduced before, this bill was the first elaborated by the Executive Power with support of NGOs and academics. It was approved by the House of Representatives in May 2003 and was sent to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill was significantly amended and it was returned to the House in December 2004 where it languished. The Senate bill was widely criticized because it imposed requirements for access such as requiring the disclosing of the motive of the request. Civil society groups are now reorganising to make a push for a bill in the next Congress. The Law Establishing Access to Environmental Information was adopted in November 2003.(10) It guarantees the right to access environmental information in the hands of the national, provincial or municipal state and the city of Buenos Aires, as well as autonomous entities and public utilities. Access to environmental information is free for any individual person or entity, except for the cost of providing the information. A showing of a special interest is not required. Access to environmental information can be denied if disclosure can affect national defence, foreign relations, trade secrets or intellectual property; works of research that have not been published; and information classified as secret or confidential by laws and regulations. Denial of access by an agency must be reasonable. Once a request is lodged, an agency has 30 days to provide the requested information. On the provincial level a number of jurisdictions have enacted FOI laws or regulations (by decrees of the governor) during the last 5 years.(11) There are FOI bills pending in the provinces of Neuquen, La Pampa, Mendoza, Santa Fe, Chaco, Tucuman and Catamarca. The Personal Data Protection Act allows for individuals to access their own personal information held by public and private bodies.(12) It is enforced by the National Directorate for Personal Data Protection.(13) The Act was adopted after the Supreme Court in the case "Ganora"(14) held that the intelligence agencies cannot deny access without a reasonable explanation. Under Article 17 of the Act, the data controller can deny access to the file for reasons of national defense. Scholarly commentary to the case points out that Article 17 considers that individuals can use habeas data to access to their personal information in such cases and that the exception should be limited.(15) Even after "Ganora" was decided, the Secretary of Intelligence usually denies access to its databases invoking Article 17 of the Data Protection Act and Articles 2 and 16 of the Intelligence law. Article 16 of the Intelligence Law provides that access to the information from any intelligence source shall be authorized by the President or the public officer to whom he may delegate such authority.(16) The President delegated this authority to the Secretary of Intelligence. However, access to classified information is always denied. NOTES Constitution of the Argentine Nation, http://www.biblioteca.jus.gov.ar/Argentina-Constitution.pdf Corte Suprema, "Urteaga, Facundo R. C. Estado Nacional - Estado Mayor Conjunto de las FF.AA. - s/amparo, ley nº 16.986" sentencia del 15/10/98 (LA LÑEY, 1998 - F, 237. Administrative Court of Appeals, sala 1ª, "Fundación Accionar Preservación Ambiente Sustentable c/ Comité Ejecutor Plan GayM Cuenca Matanza-Riachuelo y otro s/ amparo", del 16/4/2002, LL 2003-A-254: Right to access to environmental information, although not mentioned in the Constitution, is a fundamental right. Plaintiff has right to access to information about the environment but case was declared moot because information was timely provided. Sofia Tiscorna & CELS v. Estado Nacional (E.D. 180-426 -1998-): FOI lawsuit invoking section 13 of the ACHR and requesting access to information held by the police during the military regime; CNCont. Adm, Sala 5, 25/3/02, "Monner Sans c/Fuerza Aerea Argentina s/amparo": Recognized right of an individual to access information about the situation of civil airplanes and examinations performed by the Argentine Air Force related to their security. The Court found he had standing to request the information because he was a passenger of airplanes; Poder Ciudadano v. National Senate (November 29, 2004, Administrative Court of Appeals): Compels the Senate to provide the plaintiff list containing number of employees hired at the Senate, salaries, and other administrative information; CNCont Adm, Sala 3, "C.P.A.C.F. c/E.N.": Recognized right of the Public Bar Association to access information contained in public files. Decree 1172 on Access to Public Information. http://www.cristal.gov.ar/ http://www.mejordemocracia.gov.ar/ (Better democracy) http://www.cristal.gov.ar/sitio/servicios/transparencia.htm Law on Fiscal Transparency. See ADC, 2004 Access to Information Monitoring Report - Argentina. Law 25.831. 26 November 2003. City of Buenos Aires: Law 104.; Buenos Aires: Law 12.475/2000 on Access to information; Entre Rios: Decree 1169/2005; Cordoba: Law 8803/1999; Santiago del Estero: Law 6753/2005; Misiones Decree 929/2000; Salta: Decree 1574/2002; Jujuy: Law 444/1999 and Decree 7930/2003; Rio Negro: Law 1829/84 and Decree 1028/2004; Chubut: Law 3764/92; Mendoza. Personal Data Protection Act. http://www.protecciondedatos.com.ar/law25326.htm Homepage: http://www2.jus.gov.ar/dnpdp/index.html Fallos 322:2139. See Sagues, Nestor, Derecho Procesal Constitucional,. Acción de amparo, tomo 3, at. 682, 5 edición, Buenos Aires, 1995; Dalla Via, Alberto y Basterra, Marcela, Habeas Data y otras garantías constitucionales, Ed Nemeses, at 130, Quilmes, 1999; Ekmedkjian, Miguel y Pizzolo (h), Calogero, Habeas Data, Depalma, at 99; Gallardo María y Omledo Karina, Habeas Data, LL 1998-A-977; SAGÜÉS, Néstor P., "El hábeas data contra organismos estatales de seguridad", LL 2000-A, 352. Ley de Inteligencia Nacional no 25,520.

 

 

Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.