One continent, multiple media battlefields.
Those tasked with drafting or promoting legislation guaranteeing the right to information face a number of challenges. How should the regime of exceptions be crafted so as to strike an appropriate balance between the right to know and the need for secrecy to protect certain key public and private interests? How extensive should the obligation to publish and disseminate information be and how can the law ensure that this obligation grows in line with technological developments? What procedures for requesting information can balance the need for timely, inexpensive access against the pressures and resource constraints facing civil servants? What right of appeal should individuals have when their requests for information have been refused? Which positive measures need to be taken to change the culture of secrecy that pervades the public administration in so many countries and to inform the public about this right? Conducted by Toby Mendel, this study helps to clarify some of these challenges from a regional, comparative perspective. It illustrates the way, in which eleven Latin American countries have dealt with enacting right to information legislation.
Confronting the News: The State of Independent Media in Latin America, by Douglas Farah [June, 2011]. The report calls attention to the deteriorating environments for independent news media in many Latin American countries as governments across the region increasingly push for limits on the press. It explores tactics used by these governments to silence the media and encourages the NGO community and U.S., European, and other Latin American leaders to put pressure on Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, among others, to stop infringing on the right to freedom of expression and access to information.