List Summary

Record Count: 5

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.

Sensitive information and TV contracts: what's being publicly funded

The Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) demanded access to contracts with the production company “Pensado para Televisión” (Thinking for TV). In December 2012, journalist Mariel Fitz Patrick asked the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers for a copy of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 contracts between this production company and Radio y Televisión Argentina SE, the public entreprise that manages the national/state media, and was turned away. The Chief responded that she would have to demonstrate a legitimate interest to have access. Furthermore, access was denied to the contracts as they included "sensitive information." The situation is indicative of loopholes in the procedure for responding to requests, both around the supposed privacy of certain information even when it involves public funding, and interest in the outcome of the request, which in many cases extends beyond the individual.

Investigations into the railroad tragedy of 2012

In August 2012, the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ) made a request to access information from the National Commission for Transport Regulation (CNRT), the Railway Infrastructure Administration (ADIF), and the Secretary of Transportation in order to learn more about the functions and responsibilities of these organizations following the Sarmiento railroad accident on February 22, 2012. ADIF responded to ACIJ's request by saying that it does not have jurisdiction over the railway line in question. CNRT responded to ACIJ’s request on transportation responsibilities with a report detailing numerous economic sanctions and fees from CNRT to TBA, a dealership/concessionaire related to the Sarmiento and Mitre lines. In response to ACIJ’s question, “Did CNRT have any report on the risks that TBA and the way it ran its service?”, CNRT stated that the agency limited itself to inspections, reports, and penalties, but did not send any report proving this to be the case. Thus, ACIJ sent a new request for information to verify the response that was provided. The requests are demostrative of the ways in which revelations from freedom of information laws can help better inform public safety outcomes.

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.