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URUGUAY PASSES ACCESS TO INFO LAW

Last month, Uruguay became the latest country in the Americas to pass an access to public information law, reports the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

Article 1 of the law outlines that its aim is to "promote transparency in the administrative functioning of all public bodies, whether they be state-run or not, and to guarantee the fundamental right of individuals to public information."

Secret and confidential information is not covered by the law, says AMARC. But the law also says that entities cannot resort to using the confidentiality clause when the information requested relates to human rights violations or aids in the investigation of such cases.

"The law represents a new milestone for Uruguay as it recognises the access to public information rights of all individuals and legally recognised bodies without discrimination," says AMARC.

The law has been promoted by the Archives and Access to Public Information Group (GAIP), a coalition of civil society organisations, including AMARC, formed three years ago to help develop access to info legislation. GAIP welcomed "this historic step in the democratic and republican institutionalisation of the country," but recognised the passing of the law only marks the beginning of their work.

The complete text of the law (in Spanish only) can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/5aeog6

Also visit this link:
- AMARC: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98213/
(19 November 2008)

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