JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS

A News Blog

TOPIC: access to information


President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will send Congress a bill this week that guarantees access to public information, the Forum for the Right to Public Information reports. The law would affect all levels of public administration (federal, state, and municipal), and is more comprehensive than those of countries like Mexico and the United States, which involve only the federal executive power, a Forum post says. read more »

The Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) released its Access to Information Manual this week, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. It contains tools to help journalists and citizens find and access government information, FLIP reports via IFEX. read more »

Journalists, government workers, and representatives of non-governmental organizations from 18 countries in the Americas, met in Lima, Peru, April 28-30, and developed a “Regional Action Plan to Advance the Right to Access Information.” read more »

Journalism for Access to Public Information (Periodismo por el Acceso a la Información Pública) is an initiative that unites journalists, journalists organizations and other non-governmental organizations from several countries that seek to promote and strengthen such rights. read more »

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy wants Americans to participate in a major study to assess how information needs are being met in communities in the digital age. read more »

More than 100 high-ranking officials, civil society leaders, and journalists from 20 countries will participate in the Carter Center's Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information, April 28-30, 2009, in Lima, Peru. The event is organized in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS), the Andean Commission of Jurists, and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. read more »

Journalists as well as citizens and civil society organizations are already making use of new laws that took effect in Chile and Guatemala. read more »

Despite a law that requires governments to release public information, only the Federal District responded to a request to provide details of advertising contracts they had signed with the news media, La Jornada reports. Four state governments receiving the requests did not comply. read more »

The government will send Congress a bill before the end of April that seeks to guarantee Brazilians the right to gain access to public information, the president's chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, said during the International Seminar on Access to Public Information, which took place in Brasília this week, Agência Brasil reports. read more »

According to an editorial in the newspaper elPeriódico, President Álvaro Colom has decided to regulate the Law of Access to Information, which Congress approved last September and which takes effect on April 21. read more »

Six years after extending the period that official documents can remain secret, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso says he signed the document "as routine" without knowing its content, the Forum for the Right to Access Public Information reports. read more »

Leaders of the National Assembly have indefinitely banned cameras belonging to private media and will only permit broadcasts by the official parliamentary channel ANTV, the newspaper El Universal reports. read more »

Judges restricted photographers this week from documenting the trial of Jorge Olivera Róvere, the 84-year-old retired general who is accused of more than 100 crimes against humanity. read more »

Via IJNet we learn that the Carter Center, the U.S.-based human rights organization, has added an online calendar to its resources about Access to Information. read more »

In hopes of balancing the access to information with the right to privacy, the Supreme Court created a rule that proposes restricting data that reveals sensitive information, such as race, political opinions, health and sexuality in judicial sentences, reported La Nación. read more »

President Barack Obama has called on all government agencies to err on the side of openness and transparency and to release information whenever possible. This policy contradicts orders from the Bush administration to seek reasons to withhold information, Kim Zetter writes for Wired’s Threat Level blog. read more »

The 23 reporters who cover the president awarded “sweet” and “sour” awards to the government ministries that are most and least accessible to reporters, Prensa Libre and the EFE news service report.

The awarding of sweet apples and sour quince fruits to government executives is a 20-year-old annual event to mark “National Journalists Day,” on Nov. 30, the day in 1729 when Guatemala’s first newspaper was distributed. read more »

The Bloomberg news agency wants to force the Federal Reserve to identify recipients of nearly $2 trillion in emergency loans from taxpayers, Bloomberg reports. read more »

A gold rush in the rain forest of French Guiana has caused pollution and controversy for 10 years. When the Armed Forces demolished an illegal gold processing camp last week, it flew reporters from three local media and the Reuters news agency in a military helicopter to observe the operation. read more »