[JURIST] The Mexican Congress [official website, in Spanish] approved legislation on Thursday that gives the public access to data from almost all institutions that receive government funding. The legislation passed the lower house of Congress [AP report] 264-68 and will go to the president for his signature. President Enrique Peña Nieto posted on his Twitter account [text, in Spanish] that the measure “will strengthen the accountability of the Mexican government and combat corruption.” The legislation expands the ability of Mexican citizens to request information from not just government agencies, but also unions, political parties and government supported councils and commissions. The law also limits the ability of government agencies to skirt information access by defining information as classified.
Mexico is one of 90 nations around the world with a freedom of information act. The UK Freedom of Information Act took effect [JURIST report] in January 2005, four years after its passage by Parliament. The Act, in conjunction with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, makes most government documents accessible to citizens through a request process. The UK Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of The Guardian, deciding that the UK newspaper may publish a series of letters [JURIST report] between Prince Charles and high government officials due to the Act. Also in March, a US federal judge ordered the Department of Defense to turn over photographs [JURIST report] depicting prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan to the ACLU after the organization requested the photos through the Freedom of Information Act.