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REGIONS:

NEW "TRANSPARENCY" LAW THREATENS INFORMATION ACCESS

Paraguay's new "administrative transparency" law threatens access to information about public institutions, according to the Paraguay Union of Journalists (SPP) and the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). The Law on Administrative Transparency No. 1,728 was signed into law by Paraguayan President Luis González Macchi on 16 July. It contains a number of clauses restricting access to official information, including that relating to the conduct and assets of public officials, investigations into allegations of corruption and the awarding of public contracts, according to IAPA. SPP says the new measure "severely impedes the possibility of knowing what is occurring inside the public administration and places an indirect gag on journalists, particularly investigative journalists, because it grants public officials a legal pretext for delaying or refusing to provide documents on the management of their affairs." SPP has presented its concerns about the law to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

IAPA is also concerned by Law No. 1,682 that regulates "information of a private nature," which was passed six months ago and came into effect last week in Paraguay. IAPA says the measure "amounts to a clear protection of public officials, politicians and legislators to prevent investigation of the origin of their wealth and of alleged acts of corruption."

For more information, see www.ifex.org and www.sipiapa.org.


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