Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.
This guest post is co-authored by David Cabo, Victoria Anderica and Jacobo Elosua. David and Jacobo co-founded Fundación Ciudadana Civio, which promotes an engaged citizenry through transparency and data openness in Spain. Together, they empower citizens with information technologies and data journalism to demand for transparency and accountability from government. David also created dondevanmisimpuestos.es, a website that visualizes annual budgets from Spanish public administrations. Victoria Anderica works with Access Info Europe -- a group that provides access to legislation information under the Right to Information Rating projects. She is involved in the “Legal Leaks” -- a project that trains journalists on how to use access to information laws.
Corruption is the second biggest concern for Spaniards, right after unemployment, according to quarterly polls.
From news about fraud accusations about the King of Spain’s son-in-law to judicial investigations into the ruling People’s Party to a scandal involving the Socialist Party and major trade unions over unemployment benefits fraud, citizens are losing patience and much of the media’s attention is focused on the country’s institutions.
In response to these scandals, the word “transparency” is suddenly heard in every corner, in every demonstration, in every TV debate. Many more Spaniards are now aware of what some civic organizations have been denouncing for years: Spain is the only country in Europe with more than one million inhabitants who do not have access to information legislation.
The Spanish Congress is currently debating a draft law that fails the test when subjected to most basic international standards. Access to information is still not a fundamental right in line with the ruling of international courts of human rights. Currently, the law only applies to administrative information – not to the judicial and legislative branches of the state. The definition of “administrative information” excludes drafts, notes, internal reports or communications between administrative bodies. And the monitoring and appeals body is not independent because it is part of the Ministry of Public Administrations.Continue reading