Spanish transparency law still has limitations

04.06.2012 - 12:32

The Spanish government has published its new draft of the Law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Governance, but different platforms and organizations still think that the project has limitations and is not completely clear.

Coalición Pro Acceso, a platform which brings together 55 members in favor of free access to information, reported that the government did not included citizens' petitions on this new draft, after a two-week public consultation period.

Despite, José Luis Ayllón, the state secretary for parliamentary relations and main driving force of the Spanish transparency law, explained at the Open Government Partnership in Brasilia on April that citizens' suggestions will be included in the law, the new draft is very similar to the previous one.

Now, Coalición Pro Acceso, has sent a letter to Ayllón and signed by Helen Darbishire, Access Info Europe Directo, asking for more transparency on open processes about this project that they consider “insufficient.”

In the letter, the platform states that "the content of the draft does not fit with the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Public Documents,  among other reasons because of the limited definition of information and because the exceptions' list is still not subjected to a public interest test.” Besides, they suggest to publish citizens' suggestions to prove that the most  popular petitions are included or not.

According to Victoria Anderica,  Coalición Pro Acceso Coordinator, the Spanish government intentions with the public consultation was to inlcude only the proposals that match with the law's philosophy.  Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Spain's Vice President, affirmed on 18 May that they selected some petitions that “respond to the philosphy and, over all, to the possibility of performance in this law.”

The letter also asks why the text doesn't include the fundamental character of the public information access right and when the government is going to pass this draft and send it to the Parliament.

Some experts, that assisted to the private reunions where the draft is being analysed, said that the government doesn't want to answer if they are going to publish society's contributions and they expect the law will come into effect at the end of this year or early 2013.