Madrid, 12 April 2019 – When Spain elects a new government on 28 April 2019, one of its pending tasks is to ensure that the weak transparency law is reformed to meet international standards, and to recognise a fundamental right in line with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
To this end, Access Info has proposed that in its next Open Government Partnership Action Plan, Spain commits to recognise the right to information, with measures such as removing identification requirements for requesters and ensuring that the law applies to all branches of power not just the executive and administration.
The Madrid-based right to information organisation has also proposed a series of measures to strengthen Spain’s over-stretched Transparency Council, including by giving it the power to sanction violations of the law, as well as more resources to conduct monitoring and to train public officials and citizens.
“As a member of the Open Government Partnership since 2012, it’s high time that Spain brings the Transparency Law into line with international standards for this fundamental right,” explained Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.
“Obstacles to asking for information such as rigid identification requirements and the failure to ensure that all public bodies have to be transparent amounts to a violation of the public’s right to know,” added Darbishire. She pointed to the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, not yet ratified by Spain, which encourages states to permit anonymous requests.
Access Info also called on the Spanish government to regulate lobbying and to commit to full transparency of decision-making. In line with future European Union directives, the Spanish government is being urged to develop Action Plan commitments on adopting whistleblower protections and opening up company ownership registers.