In the last two decades, Latin American countries - including Brazil,
Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica,
Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Uruguay, among others - have
designed and adopted Freedom of Information Acts (FOIAs). These FOIAs
have increased transparency in government actions, ensured citizens’
right to request and access public information, and enhanced overall
accountability. This Brief describes and analyses critical features of
these Latin American legal frameworks, highlighting their originality,
design, preliminary outcomes, and the contextual factors that enabled
their adoption. The lessons coming out of Latin American countries’
experiences in designing their FOIAs will likely be of use to countries
in other regions that are looking to either create or strengthen their
own legal framework supporting access to information.
•A legal framework with a comprehensive scope and clear sanctions in the
case of non-compliance ensures greater access to information and
•An independent oversight body monitoring FOIA compliance can enforce
the right to access information more effectively, thus legal frameworks
including an agency like this are stronger.
•By mandating governments to make public information accessible to all
citizens, and particularly to vulnerable groups, FOIAs can promote not
only greater accountability, but also participation and social justice.
FUNDAR. ELLA Policy Brief: Building the Legal Framework to Support Transparency and Access to Information in Latin America. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 5 pp.