List Summary

   
Record Count: 30

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.

Why doesn't a registry for gifts to public officials exist?

ACIJ and CIPCE (Centro de Investigación y Prevención de la Criminalidad Económica) asked for information from the Anticorruption Office (OA) regarding regulations on gifts to public officials. CIPCE and ACIJ asked the OA information regarding a) whether or not a mechanism from the Registry of Gifts and Benefits to Public Officials had been implemented b) "if not, what where the reasons, and c) how long until some mechanism is implemented?" OA responded on November 28 and gave no specific reasons for the absence of a mechanism and no timeline. The OA’s Director of Policy Planning on Transparency did not respond to most of the ONGs’ questions. Specifically, there was no response to why Article 18, dealing with public ethics, is not applied to gifts. Article 18, Ethics Law of Public Administration, is 12 years old and there is still no Registry of Gifts and Benefits.

The right to access to information in Argentina: a roadmap

Although not a FOI request, this site lists Argentina's national, provincial, and local FOI laws. The following serves as a useful resource for those interested in how laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can aid in the creation of top-level, wider-reaching laws on the subject.

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.

Courts order release of information on teacher absenteeism

As a result of the efforts of the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) beginning in 2007, the Supreme Court ordered the Director General of Culture and Education of the Province of Buenos Aires to release information on the amount of days no classes are taught due to the absence of teachers, specifically in 36 schools. The Director General has 15 days to respond. The request serves as yet another example of how freedom of information laws give citizens tools to evaluate how tax dollars are being spent, especially when it comes to their welfare and that of their children.

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.

Answers to requests for access to information on the Chinese base in Neuquén

In 2012, China signed two cooperative agreements with Argentina — one with Argentina's National Space Activities Commission (CONAE) and one with the province of Neuquén — for contruction of a satellite space station to "support activities related to interplanetary exploration, astronomical observation, monitoring and control of satellites in orbit and data acquisition." The agreement stipulates China's lease on and use of this station for 50 years in exchange for CONAE's lmited access to it. The Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that supports the project, which will be finalized in 2016. Chequado asked Argentina's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship for access to this agreement. Because there were criticisms and suspicions regarding the reason for the station linking it to possible military use, this information was deemed important to the public interest. On orders from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Argentina's National Space Activities Commission (CONAE) responded by releasing the the full copy of the agreement, complete with all clauses and annexes, here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/256407065/Acuerdo-Argentina-China. According to the document, there appear to be no clauses related to ambiguous uses of the station.

Judges mandate personal data be produced on the appointment of department director

In 2013, Manuel Garrido, an Argentine deputy, requested information from the National Directorate for the Protection of Personal Data about the appointment of the department's director, but was initially denied because it was argued that deputies waived their rights to such requests once in office. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Garrido, sponsored by the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC). This solidified the fact that being in certain positions of employment does not limit your ability to make information requests.

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 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.