The Right to Information in Latin America: A Comparative Legal Survey

This legal survey, published by UNESCO’s Office in Quito, compares the existing right to information laws in 11 Latin American countries: Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.

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. Built on two editions of a companion book that UNESCO published to great international acclaim, this timely study confirms UNESCO’s continued commitment to promote the right to information, in line with its strategic objective of enhancing universal access to information and knowledge. This authoritative, yet accessible, study of the law and practice regarding the right to information in Latin America, provides an invaluable analysis of what is working and why.



  • Bibliographic reference
  • Collation: 176 p.
  • Author(s): Mendel, Toby
  • Publication year: 2009
  • Document code: EC/2008/CI/PI/13
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