Mexico legislators seek to change freedom-of-information law

hand on mouseLos Angeles Times, 8/20/2013

Mexico in recent years has made significant progress in correcting authorities’ traditional practice of hiding information from the public. Availing themselves of a relatively new freedom-of-information law, journalists and ordinary citizens have been able to learn facts that the government sought to hide — from homicide statistics to what the first lady spends on her wardrobe.

But this week, Congress was poised to change the law governing the Federal Institute for Access to Information, or IFAI, in ways that critics say will gut the public’s ability to gain access to important, sometimes sensitive, material. In discussions held largely behind closed doors, congressional committees approved a provision that would allow the Supreme Court to review and potentially overturn any decision by the IFAI. As it stands now, the institute receives petitions from citizens, reviews the request and then, if in agreement, orders the target of the petition to disclose the information sought.

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Mexico Institute Event: Access to Information and Accountability: A Global Context

Mexico Institute, 10/2/12

October, 11th, 2012

8:30 am to 12:30 pm

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

   6th Floor Auditorium

   RSVP Here

Continue reading “Mexico Institute Event: Access to Information and Accountability: A Global Context”

A Call from IFAI to Release Debt Records of Coahuila [In Spanish]

Reforma, 3/12/2012

Mexico’s Federal Institute of Access to Information (IFAI) ordered the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) to release the entirety of the information with any connection to the public debt that the state of Coahuila contracted between 2007 and 2011 under the gubernatorial administration of Humberto Moreira. The CNBV had refused to release this information, arguing that its disclosure was not possible as it pertained to the portfolio of institutions belonging to development banking.

Jacqueline Peschard, president of IFAI, revoked this argument after explaining that the issuing of the debt holds a direct relationship with Banobras and Nacional Financiera, which are both public governing bodies and thus should make the information available to the public.

Adding to the economic problems looming over Coahuila that incumbent governor Rubén Moreira inherited from his brother and previous governor are the declarations from the Office of the Federal Attorney General (PGR) claiming that Los Zetas paid off various state and federal officials during the administration of Humberto Moreira to provide a network of protection for members of this drug cartel.

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Statistics on Violence Now- Freedom of Information Institute Demands of Government (In Spanish)

Milenio, 1/06/2012

El Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos (IFAI) instruyó al gobierno federal a publicar “a la brevedad” un informe de ejecutados de 2011.

También avaló la reserva declarada por la Presidencia sobre esos datos “en tanto las instancias correspondientes del gobierno federal llevan a cabo los procesos de organización y verificación de la información requerida”.

Sin embargo, en una carta enviada a MILENIO, el instituto dirigido por Jaqueline Peschard enfatizó que “nunca convalidó la negativa oficial a difundir informes sobre víctimas en 2011”, puesto que “dicha información es de naturaleza pública y, por tanto, el gobierno federal debe darla a conocer”

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Peschard: Difficult to guarantee protection of information (in Spanish)

La Jornada, 10/18/2010

The president of Mexico’s Federal Institute of Access to Information (IFAI), Jacqueline Peschard, warned that the development and use of technology has allowed for unauthorized use of personal information. In fact, she added in a talk with a group of Mexico City lawyers, the violence of privacy is constant.

In the meeting, Peschard discussed the new Protection of Personal Information Law, stating it will have benefits to individuals and companies alike.

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IFAI head: Insecurity does not justify opacity (in Spanish)

El Universal, 9/30/2010

The head of Mexico’s Federal Institute of Access to Public Information and Information Protection (IFAI), Jaqueline Peschard, asked the federal government to provide sufficient resources to the Institute so that it can comply with the new responsibilities of protecting information.

Peschard said that transparency is irreversible in Mexico, and cannot fall prey to the “temptation to return to opacity.” It would be “very costly” to do an about-face in transparency, backtracking on two key aspects of the consolidation of democracy: access to information and protection of information.

She added that problems caused by the insecurity in the country cannot justify a lack of transparency in the management of public finances.

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Peschard recently co-edited a book on Mexico’s Democratic Challenges, published by Stanford University Press and the Woodrow Wilson Press, with Mexico Institute Director Andrew Selee…

IFAI asked for the names of “narcomilitantes” to be revealed (in Spanish)

Reforma, 9/28/2010

The Federal Institute of Access to Information (IFAI) on Tuesday revoked the 12-year ban that the Defense Ministry had put in place on the revelation of the names of military personnel sentenced for crimes related to drug trafficking, and ordered them to be made public.

With a vote of four in favor and one against, that of commissioner Sigrid Artz, the committee approved the request of a citizen who had asked for the names, levels, and date and place of detention, of personnel convicted for committing crimes related to organized crime in the past ten years.

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