Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Centre for Law and Democracy: Right to Information Laws Adopted Recently in Puerto Rico are Weak

By on May 7, 2020

SAN JUAN — An assessment of two laws adopted recently in Puerto Rico to establish a legal right to access information held by government reveals the laws are very weak, according to an analysis published Wednesday by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD), a a Canada-based non-governmental organization that promotes freedom of expression and the right to information.

According to the center’s RTI (right-to-information) Rating (, the two laws—the Transparency and Expeditious Procedures for Access Public Information Law (Access Law) and the Open Data Law (Open Data Law)—score just 73 out of a possible maximum of 150 points, putting them in 88th position relative to the 128 national laws assessed on the rating, in the bottom one–third.

The RTI Rating measures the strength of the legal framework for the right to access information held by public authorities based on 61 indicators divided into seven main categories: Right of Access, Scope, Requesting Procedure, Exceptions & Refusals, Appeals, Sanctions & Protections, and Promotional Measures.

“Puerto Rico needs stronger rules on the right to information if it is to implement its constitutional guarantee for this right properly,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director, CLD. “The current laws are far weaker than most of the national laws that have been adopted in the Americas.”

CLD prepared the analysis at the request of Red de Transparencia, a local civil society transparency network.

The center said that while Puerto Rico has strong guarantees for the right to information and the scope of coverage of the two laws is broad, some of the key weaknesses with them are as follows:

  • There are important gaps in the procedures for making and responding to requests for information.
  • The regime of exceptions is far too broad, earning just 23% of the available points on the RTI Rating.
  • There is no independent administrative level of appeal.
  • The system of sanctions and protections is very limited.
  • There are few promotional measures to help support strong implementation.

CLD’s analysis is available here. The executive summary is available here

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