Through resolutions No. 436/2023 and No. 543/2023, the Public Ministry of Defense decided to annul the appointment of the person responsible for the Office of Access to Public Information, citing budgetary reasons. Although there is an interim official fulfilling these tasks, the technical suitability, autonomy and exclusive dedication required to adequately perform the position are not guaranteed, which implies a serious setback for the guarantee of this right.
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One of the most relevant advances of Law 27,275 on the Right of Access to Public Information was the creation of autonomous and specialized institutions in each of the powers of the national State, which are in charge of controlling its proper compliance, as well as promoting better practices and protect the interest of persons requesting public information. In 2018, the Public Ministry of Defense formed the Agency and appointed its head, who completed his duties in April of this year.
On April 18, 2023, through Resolution 436/2023, the Public Ministry of Defense annulled the regulations for the appointment of the person responsible for the Office of Access to Information of the entity and ordered that its functions were assumed by staff of the Legal Department, on an interim basis. Said decision was supported by a note presented by the Office of General and Financial Administration in which it informed that “in view of the existing budget deficit situation in the projection of annual expenses of this Public Ministry of Defense, there is no possibility of maintaining the existing position structure in the Office of Access to Public Information”.
Subsequently, through Resolution 543/2023, the person from the Legal Department was appointed who, in addition to fulfilling the functions he currently has in that unit, will carry out the tasks entrusted to the Office of Access to Information.
The current scheme does not guarantee the right of access to public information and constitutes a serious setback in the matter. Resolutions 436 and 543 of 2023 are illegal and unconstitutional, as long as:
- The person who temporarily occupies the position of head of the Information Access Office does not have the technical suitability, autonomy, or exclusive dedication required to adequately perform the position. Said appointment must conform to the content of Law 27,275 that orders the selection process to be open, public and transparent (art. 28), which has not been respected in this case.
- They leave the management of the Office of Access to Information in an interim state without clear rules that over time can become a situation of indefinite permanence. The rules for his election were left without effect and to date no new guidelines have been issued to remedy the current situation.
- Both resolutions are based on budgetary reasons, but it has not been proven that other measures that were less harmful to the right were attempted, such as cutting the cost of non-essential services.
The signatory civil society organizations express our concern about this situation and emphasize the need for the Public Ministry of Defense to respect the institutional framework established by Law 27,275 to guarantee the right of access to public information, which strengthens and secures our democracy, facilitates the exercise of other rights and plays an essential role in preventing corruption and promoting transparency in the State. For this reason, we request the General Defender of the Nation to annul resolutions 436 and 543 of 2023 and to begin the selection process so that the position is adequately covered. The note presented can be viewed here.
Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia
Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información
Democracia en Red
Fundación Conocimiento Abierto
Fundeps- Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables
INECIP- Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales y Sociales
María Victoria Sibilla, firstname.lastname@example.org