Venezuelan government limits public information access rights, according to report

According to a report published by the Coalition ProAccess movement, the right to access public information in Venezuela is being restricted by the government, reported the organization Espacio Público, on Monday Aug. 13.

The study shows that the Venezuelan government promotes opacity with legal frames that limit citizens from accessing information, encourages censorship and self-censorship in the public and private sectors, and guarantees impunity for public officials that restrict public interest information, according to the organization Transparencia website.

A total of 22 standards were evaluated (see list here) that contribute to a secretive culture and allow for public officials to deny requests of access to information, or to delay answers, such as the Classification and Information Processing in Public Administration Standard, and the Situational Study Center of the Nation.

In addition, the study said that the attacks and threats against the press that covers public interest issues, and the reprisals imposed on citizens, businesses, and organizations that request information, are obstacles to transparency. Demanding compliance with the constitutional right to the Venezuelan judicial system information also hasn't given results, according to the report.

"How does one get information in a country where 316 requests to public entities are registered and only 11 answers are provided; and four of them are satisfactory?" said the Coalition ProAccess. "Government threats to leave the Inter American System of Human Rights, the only authority that is left for Venezuelans to demand justice and advocate for their rights to current, complete, clear, truthful, and timely public information, now add to this wall of opacity," it added.

For more information about information access in Latin America, see this Knight Center map.

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.