Assessing Access to Public Information
Access to public information is a right recognized by conventions, doctrine, and international jurisprudence due to its importance in the consolidation, operation, and preservation of democratic systems. Following the trend seen in human rights law, many governments have enacted and advanced in the implementation of laws and policies regarding access to public information, with notable results in political and social spheres.
In its September 19, 2006 verdict of the Claude Reyes case against Chile, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights indicated that the right to access information is governed by the principle of maximum disclosure. This principle is rooted in the precept that all information should be public and subject to a well-defined system of limitations or exceptions.
Today, however, there is debate around what governments should qualify as “limited information” or “confidential access,” especially information related to defense and security (the latter includes public and citizen security). Some countries have already adopted regulations for managing defense and security information by seeking to comply with international standards, while also clearly defining situations for exceptions and establishing a strict regime regarding information confidentiality in these sectors.
Some governments also impose onerous restrictions on access to information for defense and security institutions. These restrictions directly affect serious acts of corruption, especially those related to budget management, spending, contracting, and abuses in military and police operations.
This Central American Monitor report focuses on the Honduran government’s application of its freedom of information laws, especially in relation to security, defense, and justice sector institutions.