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FLIP launches its Access to Information Manual

(FLIP/IFEX) - 4 May 2009 - On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, FLIP presents its Access to Information Manual. The publication contains practical and useful tools for journalists and citizens for finding and accessing information.

Information is an essential element of democracy. We look for information and access it in order to know our rights and obligations. This knowledge is fundamental to the decisions we make as citizens. We demand information as an exercise of legitimate political control: sharing information guarantees transparency.

The right to access government information goes beyond the simple duty of the state to respond to our requests. This right also imposes a three-fold obligation on the state: to produce information, save it and share it. In countries like Colombia, where people are looking for guarantees for economic, social and cultural rights, information allows people to know how the state is progressing through its public policies. Issues such as school enrollment or access to health services can only be evaluated if the state provides reliable information at predetermined intervals.

The manual describes, in general terms, the legal and judicial framework of the right to access information, which is established in article 74 of the Constitution. It also includes a guide of practical cases and tools for requesting government information.

The publication of this manual was supported by the British Embassy in Colombia, the Swedish branch of Reporters Without Borders and the National Endowment for Democracy.

The manual (in Spanish) can be downloaded here: http://www.flip.org.co/documentos/362-manual_acceso.pdf

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