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Access to information bill advances in Congress

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 16 September 2010 - In early September, the Argentine Senate signalled unanimous support for an access to information bill and committed to begin a more detailed review of a draft text from 30 September. The lower house is simultaneously reviewing a separate bill on the right to information. These uncoordinated debates can harm the approval of a comprehensive law.

Argentina already has an access to information regulation in force which only covers documents held by the executive. A law approved by the two chambers of Congress would also apply to information held by the judicial and legislative branches of government.

"The debate on the right to information is too important to be undermined by political interests", says Agnès Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19. "Congress must hear the call by Argentine civil society and coordinate a discussion to adopt access to information legislation in accordance with the best practices in the field."

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the initiative to discuss the regulation of the right to information in Argentina, but is concerned about the risk of Congress losing two separate debates instead of passing one concerted effort.

ARTICLE 19 urges both chambers to resolve their differences and engage in constructive dialogue towards a comprehensive bill that follows international standards and best practices.

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