The Executive Branch of Argentina issued Decree 206/2017 (the “Decree”), published in the Official Gazette on 28 March 2017, which partially regulated the implications of Law No. 27,275 of Access to Public Information (The “Law”), which was enacted in September 2016 (see http://canosa.com/en/se-sanciono-la-ley-de-acceso-la-informacion-publica/).
The Law sought to ensure access to public information on behalf of all citizens; Public Information being understood as all data contained in documents of any format that generate, obtain, control or defend the subjects bound by this Law.
This Decree clarifies that the Agency for Access to Public Information, created by the Law, will act under the Executive Office of the Cabinet and the Head of the Cabinet will be required to enact the remaining explanatory and complementary regulations to this Decree.
In its article 8, the Law outlines the cases in which the obligated subjects can refuse to provide the required information. The Decree makes some modifications and clarifications and the following should be mentioned:
- The discreet, confidential or secret nature of classified information for reasons of defense, foreign policy or internal security must be provided by rules regulating the activity and through a legal act of the relevant authorities, prior to the request for information.
- The financial secrecy of articles 39 and 40 of the Law on Financial Institutions (passive transactions by commercial, investment, mortgage, financial companies, savings, home loans and credit unions, and the information received by the Central Bank in its functions related to passive transactions)
- It is understood as information whose disclosure is liable to impair competitiveness that is secret, has a commercial value because it is secret, and has been subject to measures to remain secret.
- Information held by the Financial Information Unit, which is exempt from the Law includes any information received, obtained, produced, linked or used in its activities of security, summary, supervision, analysis and international affairs.
- Information containing personal data, exempt from the Law of access to public information, must be provided when the holder of the data has given consent; or when it can be presumed that the information was to be subject to the state advertising regime; or when the data is related to the functions
In addition to the grounds for exemption of article 8, the obligated subject may refuse to provide the information in the event that it does not exist or if they are not legally obliged to do so. The Decree stipulates that this refusal of the request must be brought to the attention of the applicant at the contact point established when making the request and should indicate the existing complaint procedures, deadlines for their filing and the formal requirements thereof. In turn, it should be expressly stated that it is not necessary to exhaust the administrative route.
The filing of a complaint before the first instance Federal Administrative Courts, as well as the administrative claim in the Public Information Access Agency interrupts the limitation period to file the action for the protection of constitutional rights.
Finally, the Decree establishes that it will enter into force on 29 September 2017.
Although certain articles of the Law are still unregulated, this Decree has advanced the regulation of this Law on Access to Public Information.