Access to Information Agency: The Executive must present a new proposal to designate its authority

Joint statement of ACIJ, Democracia en Red, Legislative Directory, Fundeps, Citizen Power, Vía Libre and the Regional Alliance for Free Expression and Information, on the occasion of the conclusion of the hearing in which the set of observations presented in around the candidate proposed by the Executive Power, Gustavo Fuertes.

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We celebrate that, after the public hearing in which the public was able to express themselves regarding the candidacy of Gustavo Fuertes to lead the AAIP, the Executive Power has not made progress in appointing him. Once the deadline with which he had to confirm said proposal has expired, it is now necessary that spaces for open discussion be urgently generated regarding the new profile that the Head of Cabinet should promote, to fill the vacancy in the Agency through a participatory process.

On March 23, the public hearing was held in which the candidacy of the lawyer Gustavo Fuertes was discussed to occupy the position of Director of the Access to Public Information Agency, which has been vacant since January 1, 2021. The hearing represented an opportunity for different people and civil society organizations to detail the numerous observations on the candidacy proposed by the Executive Power, which coincided in the lack of suitability and guarantees of autonomy of the candidate.

After this participatory instance, the Executive Power decided not to finally confirm the Strong’s nomination to the position. As indicated in Law 27,275 in its article 21 subsection f, the Chief of Staff had a period of seven days from the holding of the hearing to approve the appointment. After this period, then, the Executive Power must restart the selection process from the proposal of a new person to occupy the position.

The decision to listen to the arguments offered by different civil society organizations and individuals in an instance designed so that citizens can participate in relevant public decisions, and thereby review an official proposal, is a very valuable step in the construction of a democracy. deliberative in which reasons matter. For this reason, the fact that the Executive Power has desisted from advancing in a decision that was questioned with highly relevant arguments as a result of the impacts that it could have on the validity of the human right to access public information, should be highlighted.

This position, which has been vacant for more than four months, is fundamental to the democratic system. In the first place, because it has the role of ensuring full transparency of all institutions and identities under the orbit of the Executive Power (which is achieved by centralized and decentralized public administration bodies, public companies and with state participation, public service concessionaires , State contractors, among others). In turn, it has among its functions to ensure the protection of the right to privacy and the full application of the Law on Protection of Personal Data. Both functions, due to their implications in the exercise of other rights, cannot be postponed for any reason, even less in an emergency context such as the current one.

For all these reasons, it is urgent that the Executive Branch send a new candidacy for the position in accordance with the standards of suitability and autonomy set forth in Argentine regulations and international law. This implies, among other antecedents, that the person has extensive experience in access to public information and protection of personal data, in such a way that his commitment to the effectiveness of these human rights can be corroborated. For this, it is desirable that open instances be generated to discuss the profile required for the person who is proposed, and that this result in the prompt appointment of a new authority and the consequent normalization of the operation of the Access Agency. Public Information.