Madrid, 22 March 2012 – As of today people in Spain will be able to make and track requests for Information from public bodies in a simple and free way via the new web portal TuDerechoaSaber.es (“Your right to know”) being launched by human rights organisations Access Info Europe and Fundación Ciudadana Civio. Based on mySociety’s Alaveteli software which also runs AsktheEU.org and Whatdotheyknow.com (UK), this pioneering website is being launched in the expectation that the Spanish government will adopt and access to information law during the first half of 2012.
“The website tuderechoasaber.es aims to breach the wall of silence between the administration and the public. It will make it easy to ask about current topics such as cuts in public services or the debts of political parties,” said Victoria Anderica, Campaigner and Project Coordinator with Access Info Europe. “With tuderechoasaber.es asking for such Information is as easy as sending an e-mail.”
Spain is the only EU country with over one million inhabitants with no access to information law and research shows that over one in two requests (54%) never get any kind of response, while only 20% receive the information requested.
“At present, each public body can decide arbitrarily whether to make information public,” commented David Cabo, founder of Fundación Ciudadana Civio. “This will change with a law which requires responses in a fixed timeframe. Our aim is that the public decides how much transparency there will be, not the administration.”
The Spanish Government has committed to presenting its a law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Government at the meeting of the Open Government Partnership in Brasilia on 17 April. Once adopted, Access Info Europe, the Fundación Ciudadana Civio and members of the public will be able to monitor the implementation of the new law via the Tuderechoasaber.es website.
Tuderechoasaber.es will permit members of the public to follow the outcomes of requests made by other people, which means that the website is not just of value for the public but will save public bodies time as they should not need to respond more than once to the same request. TuDerechoaSaber.es aims to mirror the success of the UK website Whatdotheyknow.com by UK organisation mySociety which has processed more than 100.000 requests in the past four years, which is 15% of all requests in the UK which had an access to information law since 2005, demonstrating the high demand for transparency. Both websites use the same Alaveteli open source software.
Tuderechoasaber.es was built with the support of more than 150 individual donors who gave money via the crowdfunding website Goteo.org.