Access to Public Information
Bubon v. Russia
Closed Expands Expression
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The Supreme Court of Ayacucho in Peru held that the city must disclose information related to the travel, and travel expenses, of public officials in accordance with the principles of publicity and the right to access information. Mario Cueto Cárdenas, a journalist, requested from the General Secretary of the City Council of Huamanga all information related to trips approved and taken by public officials to other cities within and outside the country, including dates, purpose and allocated per diem. The Court found that the publicity principle requires government bodies to disclose information related to the travel and expenses of their officials; that the right to access information is explicit in Peru’s statutory law; and that Law 27619 provides for the documentation and retention of all information needed to satisfy such requests.
This case analysis was contributed by Right2Info.org.
Mario Cueto Cárdenas, a journalist, requested from the General Secretary of the City Council of Huamanga all information related to trips approved and taken by public officials to other cities within and outside the country, including dates, purpose and money allocated per diem. After receiving no response from the Mayor or the City Council, a demand of habeas data (i.e. an individual complaint based on a fundamental right to know information stored about oneself) was filed with the court of first instance, which dismissed the demand. Cárdenas appealed the decision.
The Court overturned the decision of the lower court, ruling that the city must deliver certified copies of the information requested once the applicable fee payment had been received from the requester. The Court’s reasoning was based on (1) the principle of publicity, (2) the right to access information (as protected by the Law on Transparency and Access to Information), and (3) Law 27619 which regulates foreign travel authorization of public servants and officials. The Court said, firstly, that all information possessed by the state is governed by the principle of publicity, which obligates government bodies to produce and keep information related to the travels and expenses of their officials. Secondly, the right to access information is explicitly embedded in the statutory law of Peru and, thirdly, Law 27619 provides for the documentation and retention of all information needed to satisfy such travel requests. The Court ordered delivery of the requested information as soon as the requisite fee had been paid and warned that continuation of such failures to provide information could result in further corrective action.
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