What's New

  • 22 July 2011

    Alliance Backs Case on Transparency in Ecuador

    The Regional Alliance for Freedom of Expression and Information (Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información) has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica that seeks to establish standards for dissemination of information. The case, “Pueblo Indígena Kichwa de Sarayaku vs. Ecuador,” is being conducted by […]

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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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News Archive

  • 31 December 2010

    Andean Group Evaluating Freedom of Information

    The Andean Group of Freedom of Information (GALI) has begun a project to evaluate national legislation on freedom of expression and access to information.   GALI plans to identify the strengths and weaknesses freedom of expression of laws in each of the five countries — Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela — in order to identify […]

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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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  • 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 The Bank’s reluctance to disclose the Framework Agreements […]

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  • 8 May 2009

    Jimmy Carter Presses for Greater Access to Information in the Americas

    Sao Paulo Gives Jimmy Carter Highest Award in Recognition of Human Rights Former US President Jimmy Carter publicly pressed for widespread support for Brazil’s pending transparency law last week. The government has pledged to pass an access to information law this year, as reported previously by freedominfo. On Sunday, May 3rd, Carter was given the […]

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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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  • 20 May 2004

    Ecuador Enacts ‘Transparency and Access to Information Law’

    By Carlos Osorio and Katherine Costar With refreshing democratic language, the new Ecuadorian Transparency and Access to Information Law establishes that "[a]ccess to information is a right of the person guaranteed by the State" and requires that government agencies proactively publish functional, operational and financial information. At the same time, a number of inconsistencies within […]

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Constitution (English)


Constitution (Spanish)


Transparency and Access to Information Law (English)


Transparency and Access to Information Law (Spanish)






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


Article 81 of the Political Constitution states:(1) The state shall guarantee the right, in particular for journalists and social commentators, to obtain access to sources of information; and to seek, receive, examine, and disseminate objective, accurate, pluralistic, and timely information, without prior censorship, on matters of general interest, consistent with community values. … Information held in public archives shall not be classified as secret, with the exception of documents requiring such classification for the purposes of national defense or other reasons specified by law. The Organic Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information (LOTAIP) was adopted on 18 May 2004.(2) The law gives citizens the right to demand public information in any format from public bodies and organizations that provide state services or are publicly owned. The request must be in writing. Bodies must respond in ten days but that can be extended another five days. There is no obligation to create information, conduct evaluations or analysis, or to produce summaries, statistical information, or indices if the information is widely dispersed. There are exemptions for personal information, national security, national defence including military plans, intelligence, and other information protected specially by other laws. The regulations note that this includes commercial or financial information including information given in confidence; protected commercial, banking industrial or technical secrets, information related to the administration of justice; information on state decision making; if it would cause harm; and information given to the Tax Administration. Information can be secret for a maximum of 15 years but the duration can be extended if there is continued justification for it. Information currently held as secret that is over 15 years old should be made public. The National Security Council is responsible for the classification and declassification of national security-related information. Congress can also declassify information in special session. Information cannot be classified following a request. The Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo) is in charge of monitoring and promoting the law. It can hear complaints or make investigations on its own initiative.(3) Complaints about withholdings can be made to a court by individual requestors. The Ombudsman can also take cases to court. The court can order the release of the information. Appeals of court decisions can be made to the Constitutional Court. Public bodies are required make information about their activities on web sites including their structures and legal basis, internal regulations, goals and objectives, directories of personnel, monthly remunerations, services, contracts including a list of those who have failed to fulfil previous ones, budgets, results of audits, procurements, credits, and travel allowances of officials.(4) Courts and other bodies are required to publish the full texts of decisions. The Congress is required to publish weekly on its web site all texts of projects of laws. The Electoral Supreme Court is required to publish the amounts received and spent by political campaigns. Political parties are required to publish annual reports on their expenditures. Public bodies are required to appoint an official to receive and answer requests. Bodies must create registries of documents. They must also make an index of classified information. They are required to adopt programs to improve awareness of the law and citizen participation. University and other educational bodies are also required to include information on the rights in the law in their education programmes. Public employees who unlawfully withhold, alter or falsify information can be fined one month's salary or be suspended without salary for that period. The law went into effect in May 2004 but implementation has been slow. Regulations for implementation were released in January 2005.(5) Public bodies have not appointed officials, nor have they created the lists of classified information. A recent report by the Access Initiative found that "Ignorance exists regarding the Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information throughout all levels of local government (municipalities, provincial councils, etc.). There is also a lack of knowledge within civil society about the Law and the citizen's right to public information".(6) The Law of Environmental Management gives a right to obtain information about environmental harms.(7) NOTES Constitución Política de la República de Ecuador de 1998. Ley Orgánica de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública. Oficio N° SGA.0000173, a 11 de mayo del 2004. Homepage: See Reglamento a la Ley Orgánica de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública, N. 2471. 12 Enero 2005. See The State of Access to Information, Participation, and Environmental Justice in Ecuador. Id.



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.