Uruguay outlines regulations for public information access law

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  • August 12, 2010

By Maira Magro

Almost two years after the enactment of the Law on Access to Public Information (Law 18.381) in Uruguay, the administration has published a decree regulating its use. To incite journalists from throughout the country to take advantage of the law, the Archives and Access to Public Information Center launched this week a campaign, “Make Your Own Request.”

According to the decree, whenever public institutions consider information to be "private," they have to justify this decision with a well-founded reason, explained the newspaper El País. The resolution must demonstrate objectively "reasonable expectation" that the disclosure of information would cause "harm to the protected public interest." The Unit for Access to Public Information (UAIP) - the body responsible for promoting access to information and coordinating related policies - has the power to declassify information if the justifications of a government agency are deemed inadequate.

The decree also stipulates that public institutions should designate one or more employees to handle information access requests, according to El País. Another positive aspect of the law, the newspaper said, is it expands the information that public institutions are obliged to disseminate on their websites, which should be updated monthly.

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.