List Summary

   
Record Count: 10

Little data exists on Argentina's state-funded airline

A state entreprise and recipient of state money, Aerolineas Argentina (AA) does not publically provide a summary of financial balances on their website. When Chequeado, an Argentine website for fact-checking, called in a request for that information, they were turned away. AA's answer was that although the info was supposed to be public, it could not be provided at the time. As a result, we still do not know where state money to AA went, or how much. Perhaps it could be understandable that finances from the previous year, 2010, may have not been ready yet, but even those from the year before that were inaccessible. Although some may point to AA's transition and ambiguous status as an excuse, AA has been managed by the state since 2008. Furthermore, many public/state and private companies around the world do provide this information on websites. This information is important to citizens who finance the company through their taxes — as such, they have the right to know how their money is being used, especially in the case of publically subsidized businesses.

Public energy and Chevron: a secret contract and a presidential investigation

The Supreme Court ordered an investigation into President Kirchner's signing of a contract between YPF (Argentina's energy company) and Chevron given concerns over a conflict of interest and abuse of power. Chequeado made a request for access to information about the contract under Decree 1172/03. YPF answered by denying access to the information on the grounds of being a "publically held company" that has "securities in the capital market," leaving it outside the scope of the Decree's jurisdiction. However, this argument has been called into question given that the law applies to private companies that receive public funding, as is the case of YPF.

Making public the salaries of the President and ministers in less than 24 hours

An unnamed NGO asked for information regarding the President and public officials' wages. La Nacion composed a similar request asking for only the highest of government workers' salaries. Both requests were denied due to Argentina's sensitive data law (25.326). On February 20, 2014, La Nacion published the records of this correspondence, piling pressure on the government to release the data. Consequently, the Secretary General of the Presidency published a list of the top 20 earners in the Argentine government (http://blogs.lanacion.com.ar/projects/files/2014/04/PlanillaSueldos2012.jpg). The next day this information became front page news, revealing the power of the media to ignite change and action in government when equipped with the right tools.

How does the government calculate economic indices?

On July 18, 2007, the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) asked the National Statistics and Censuses Institute (INDEC) for information regarding their methodology and variables when calculating the consumer price index. ADC asked again through legal means in August 17, 2007 after INDEC did not initially respond. INDEC then responded with limited information, notably leaving out variables and not specifying their methods. In October 2008, a court ruled in favor of ADC and asked INDEC to provide the solicited information. The data was made publicly available on INDEC’s website August 2009. This ruling represents a significant recognition of the constitutional right of every person to have access to public information held by the state.

NGOs ask the house and senate for information on government employees, budgeting information and subsidies

In 2011, the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), the Fundación Directorio Legislativo, and Poder Ciudadano requested information on employee contracts (part-time or full time), community expenses, and the grants and subsidies given to the Congressmen of the House and the Senate. In August 2014, they, along with several NGOs, once again requested this information, indicating that the information was not made available on their websites. In February 2015, after receiving no response, the NGOs filed two lawsuits suing the House and the Senate. The Administrative Court ruled in favor of ADC, ACIJ, Directorio Legislativo and Poder Ciudadano. The Senate has 15 days to respond now. The rest of the information requested was made public on the Senate website, signaligning a huge victory for civil society groups trying to bolster public engagement.

The government continues to turn its back on providing official data on poverty

This article describe's the Argentine government's refusal to provide official data on poverty rates. The last official index on poverty was published in 2013, but was discontinued due to problems with how its methodology determined levels of poverty. Although Argentina's National Statistics and Censuses Institute (INDEC) stated that there are about 6000 ways to calculate poverty, nothing was ever published regarding how this could be done. When Axel Kicillof, Argentina's Minister of Economy, was asked to explain why the data was not published, he didn't address the issue, but rather answered evasively. As such, the silence raises questions on how citizens can remain engaged in awareness and action around improving the standard of living for everyone when information on its metric is kept hidden from the public.

The government has to answer to information requests under judicial orders

In June 2012, the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) asked for information from the Buenos Aires city government regarding public propaganda expenses in 2011, but received no reply. ADC advocates for a law establishing clear criteria, control, and transparency regarding official advertising. A court case was scheduled for November 22 pitting ADC against the Buenos Aires government where ADC emphasized the need for a stronger FOI law.

Access to information: requests without responses

The La Nacion Data team asked for a physical copy of the President's salary on February 7, 2013. In January 2014, they asked for the salaries of the primary officials in the Executive Branch, which was supposed to be provided to them following the request. The physical copy was never successfully relayed to them. In December 2012, the team asked for information regarding the travels of Guillermo Moreno, the Secretary of Domestic Trade from 2005 to 2013. The request was left for 762 days without a response. In 2013, the team requested information regarding a specific resolution of ACUMAR's (a regional government agency): number 1173/2012. On September 6, 2013, Oscar Deina, Chief Executive of ACUMAR, said that the law was not regulated by the agency. 293 days later, the agency sent the text of the resolution. Links and documents to these requests are available in the article.

The implementation gap on access to information in Argentina

This is a report regarding the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth's (CIPPEC) public info requests to 14 state-run companies or public entreprises (with 10% or more state ownership) between June & July 2013. Together, these 14 public entreprises represent 85% of the national budget allocated to government funded companies. Nine enterprises answered the access requests and five did not. Four sent 10% or less of the requested information; two sent 25%; three sent ~65%. Companies did answer satisfactory due to "(i) the protection of commercial secrecy; (ii) [being] outside the orbit of the national public sector, so they are not affected by Decree 1172/2003; (iii) the requested information exceeded the concept of information set in the Decree; (iv) the information is confidential, [...] (v) trade balances of the last three years were not approved, so it was impossible to send information about the financial statements." These requests challenge the issue of privacy as a loophole in public information law and highlight the need for stricter legislation.

How much did the state pay for the lawyers that represented them at the Hague for the Botnia conflict?

In November 2007, Clarin journalist Pablo Abiad, sponsored by the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), demanded information regarding the how much the state paid lawyers in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the Uruguay River pulp mill dispute. The information was released once Clarin released an article on November 4 titled "Fees in the Hague, a State Secret" The following day, the Foreign Ministry issued Resolution 2363, which stated that providing the requested information does not jeopardize Argentina's position before the ICJ.