After several years during which different sectors called for a law on access to public information, on September 14, Congress passed a law regulating this matter, which was published in the Official Gazette on September 29, 2016, as Law No. 27,275.
Until now, access to public information was only regulated within the scope of the Executive Branch (the "PEN"), by Annex VII of Decree No. 1172/2003. The Supreme Court, in different precedents, had called on Congress to address this issue. Please see Marval News # 138, # 144 and # 156.
Against this backdrop, on April 8, 2016, the PEN submitted a bill that was approved, with some amendments, by the House of Deputies on May 18, 2016.
On September 7, 2016, the Senate approved the bill, introducing some modifications to its text. However, the House of Deputies rejected those changes and insisted on the text that was approved last May 18, 2016.
As a result, the text approved by the House of Deputies has been passed by Congress and now the Executive Branch may promulgate it as the new Law on Access to Public Information (the "LAPI").
Main Provisions of the LAPI
The main provisions of the LAPI are the following:
Right of Access to Public Information
The LAPI states that the right to access public information comprises the possibility of freely searching, accessing, requiring, receiving, copying, analyzing, processing, reusing and redistributing the information held by the Obliged Subjects (as defined below), which is restricted only by the limits and exceptions provided for in the LAPI
Any kind of data contained in any document, whatever its format might be, which is created, obtained, transformed, controlled or held by the Obliged Subjects (the "Information") is presumed to be public.
The Bill provides that any person or legal entity, either public or private, has the right to request and receive the Information. It is not necessary to allege any subjective right or legitimate interest; nor is legal counsel required.
The following subjects are obliged to provide the Information (the "Obliged Subjects"):
The Federal Administration (both centralized and decentralized agencies); The Legislative Branch; The Judicial Branch; The Public Ministry for the Prosecution; The Public Ministry for the Defense; The Council of the Judiciary; State-controlled corporations and companies (which includes any business organization where the Federal Government owns a majority shareholding...