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The deadline for government agencies in Spain to adopt the transparency law mandated by the Central Government passed in 2014.  The report from Tuderechoasaber.net (Your Right to Know) shows that the silence from the administration decreased from the previous year, however there continues to be a significant amount of requests unanswered, at nearly 42.7%

In a response to the appeal filed by the city of São Paulo, the Brazilian Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) ratified the guidelines established in the Constitution and the Access to Information Law to reaffirm the disclosure of salary information of civil servants.

The Department of Justice recently made changes to the FOIA regulations that were drafted in 2011.  The new regulations were designed using feedback and suggestions from requesters, civic society organizations, and government agencies. The improvements that were included should make it easier to make FOIA requests and reduce fees.

Mexico’s congress passed the new Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information, that incorporates important changes and mechanisms for enforcement.  Additionally, in the capital, Mexico City (DF), the governor signed the bill, the Open City Law (Ley de Ciudad Abierta), to be discussed in the Legislative Assembly of DF.  Both legislative initiatives are the result of collaborative efforts.

In Brazil, the Public Prosecutor's Office (Ministério Público Federal, MPF) recommended suspending funding to municipalities in Pernambuco that failed to properly implement transparency portals, a requirement of the Brazilian Freedom of Information Law.

The increasingly tense relations between pro-government supporters and the opposition in the Brazilian political arena revolves around making classified information from the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) available to the public. Improved transparency was an unexpected result of this partisan dispute.

 

The Program for Public Transparency (PTP) will host the Seminar, National Evaluation of Transparency and Open Government at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in the coming week (November 10-11th). The event is an opportunity to learn more about compliance and implementation of the Acess to Information Law in the Brazilian context.

At its best, lobbying can be used to help the government make more informed decisions, but without transparency it can be used to support special interests at the expense of others. The Sunlight Foundation created “The Lobbying Disclosure Guidelines” to aid policymakers and open government advocates to promote transparency.

 

 

The controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton forces us to take a closer look at the issue of transparency in the highest levels of the U.S. government.  During her tenure as the U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton was able bypass federal records regulations and transparency laws by using a private email account.

The article, “Transparency, monitoring and evaluation programs in Brazil: In search of opaqueness that can restrict civil society’s ability to hold the government accountable,” discusses the implementation and evaluation of the Brazilian Freedom of Information Law (Lei de Acesso à Informação, LAI) between 2008-2011 in the Brazilian federal government.

 

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