Mexican Congress expands reach of freedom-of-information law

By Associated Press via The Washington Post, 04/17/15

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress has approved freedom of information legislation that will allow public access to data from almost any entity that receives government funding.

The measure was passed Thursday in the lower house on a 264-68 vote and now goes to the president for his signature.

President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote in his Twitter account that the law “will strengthen the accountability of the Mexican government and combat corruption.”

Mexicans can currently use freedom-of-information requests to get data from government agencies. But the new law now also covers requests to unions, political parties and government-supported councils and commissions.

The law also sets down rules for the classifying of information as confidential or a state secret, designations that have allowed some agencies to skirt information access rules.

Here are 5 important changes in the new freedom-of-information law:

  1. Increase transparency obligations to all organizations that receive public funds, including political parties, unions, and independent agencies, among others.
  2. Federal deputies and Senators now have to make public their salaries, bonuses, benefits, and other expenses.
  3. Information regarding human rights violations cannot be restricted from the public.
  4. Creation of a National Transparency System, a digital platform to gather and track all the access-to-information requests.
  5. Increase penalties for public servants when they declare absence of information without proof.

Click here and here for more information (in Spanish).

Click here to see a larger version of the infographic “The Mexican State and Anti-Corruption Efforts.”

Also, click here to check the components of the WJP Open Government Index 2015 in which Mexico is ranked 42 out of 102 countries.

This year, the Mexico Institute is working on proposals and analyses regarding transparency and rule of law. You can visit our info-graphics, events, and publications on the topic here. Below you can find the webcast of Luis Rubio’s Book: A Mexican Utopia.

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