EUROsociAL+ presents a study that analyses the incidence of COVID-19 on the right of access to public information in Latin America
COVID-19 brought with it many requirements for preventive measures, but not only those to do with health or the use of a mask or hand washing. In these times of pandemic, citizens are demanding clarity regarding the management of such requirements by public administrations, precise information on the situation in their countries, as well as on the measures to be applied to prevent the spread of the virus. Transparency has become one more preventive measure against COVID-19.
For all these reasons, the programme of the European Union, which is headed up by FIIAPP, EUROsociAL+ published the study Transparency, access to information and the protection of personal data in the face of the Covid-19 health emergency in which they detail how the right of access to public information has been affected during the pandemic and the response of administrations and civil society in Latin America. It identifies some of the measures with the greatest impact carried out to guarantee access to information during states of emergency. It also puts forward recommendations to help turn such access to information into a vehicle to access health services in the context of a pandemic.
The study was been prepared at the request of the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA), a network that includes the guarantor bodies of 17 Latin American countries and Spain. In the words of its president, Gabriel Delpiazzo, in the Seminar international online presentation of the study, in some Latin American countries there has been a restriction on active transparency in the daily dissemination of epidemiological data that was reversed by citizen action and social networks.
Blanca Lilia Ibarra Cadena, Executive Secretary of the RTA, underlined how opacity has also affected other areas such as purchases of urgent medical supplies. On the other hand, the programme manager on the directorate for Latin America of the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Associations, Laure Rogès, highlighted a positive aspect, which is the strength shown by the global community for transparency and open government, including civil society, guarantor entities and some governments, especially in the Americas and Europe; an aspect that EUROsociAL+ will continue to work on in order to promote this exchange of experiences and this public dialogue and address the challenges posed by the exercise of the right of access to information in the context of a pandemic.