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HONDURAS BREACHES OWN ACCESS TO INFORMATION LAW, SAYS C-LIBRE

2008 was not a good year for press freedom in Honduras. Despite the passage of the much anticipated Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information, public institutions are not abiding by it, says an investigation by the Committee for Free Expression (C-Libre), a coalition of journalists and members of civil society that defends and promotes free expression in Honduras.

C-Libre notes that a large number of public institutions still don't have a website as required by law, such as the Honduran Forest Development Corporation (AFE-COHDEFOR), Honduras Mail (HONDUCOR) and the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS), making it difficult for the public to get information about them.

It's not a case of not having the resources to launch a website. "These entities have violated the Law of Transparency not for lack of money but of political will of officials who run them," says C-Libre.

C-Libre recommends that the National Anti-Corruption Council (CNA), the body that oversees the law, works together with civil society and the Institute of Access to Public Information (IAIP) to ensure the policy of transparency and the right to information is properly implemented. This means making information easily available to the public.

It also recommends asking public institutions that have web pages to introduce more user-friendly search engines and include all information that must be declared as stated in the law. Only then will requests for information increase "to the extent that people make more use of their right."

See: http://tinyurl.com/93zuyb for more information (in Spanish only).

(14 January 2009)

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