Public Defender questions constitutionality of law classifying all national security information in Peru

The Peruvian Public Defender filed a constitutional complaint against one of the articles in Legislative Decree 1129 on Feb. 15, which it claims violates the constitutional right to "access public information," reported the newspaper La República. Article 12 of the decree declares that all information related to national security and defense is classified, added the newspaper.

The Public Defender also questioned the secrecy claim's standing, considering that the executive branch does not have the constitutional authority to legislate on the limits of fundamental rights, such as the right to access public information, reported the Press and Society Institute (IPYS in Spanish).

The official said that the lawsuit does not set out to "weaken the forces of order but to strengthen them because in a democratic State transparency exists to guarantee efficient management," reported the website Perú 21. The defender requested the article be immediately struck from the law, according to La República.

IPYS said that the "secrecy in the military field" affects the right to information and contributes to a favorable environment for "corrupt practices," offering its support to the Public Defender's case. Last December, when the law was approved, IPYS criticized the law as an attack on the right to access public information and a violation of national and international treaties.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.