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UNESCO’s comparative survey on right to access information translated into Portuguese

20-01-2010 (Brasilia)
UNESCO’s comparative survey on right to access information translated into Portuguese
Cover of the Portuguese translation
UNESCO’s Office in Brasilia, with the support of Mato Grosso State Government, launches the book Liberdade de informação: um estudo de direito comparado in print and online version.
The translation of Freedom of Information: A Comparative Legal Survey into Portuguese was made from the second edition, revised and updated, which was launched in English in 2008. The book, written by Toby Mendel, has played an important role in assisting public and private institutions and UNESCO Member States with freedom of information legislation.

The book presents an international overview of best-practice standards and analyses the laws of 14 different countries from all over the world: Sweden, Uganda, United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom, highlighting positive aspects and problems of the laws in force.

What is this right, is it really a right and how have governments sought to give effect to it? These are some of the key questions this survey seeks to address. It is concluded by a comparative analysis of the various laws and policies regarding the fundamental right to information.

According to Guilherme Canela, from UNESCO’s Brasilia Office, the translation into Portuguese is an important input to the recent debates on the adoption of a General Law of Access to Information by Brazil. “In addition, the book can be useful for other Portuguese-speaking nations that wish to carry on this discussion," added Canela.

Fernando Rodrigues, journalist from Folha de S. Paulo and UOL, says that this book helps to stimulate the debate about the need for a law on the right to access public information in Brazil. “This issue has never been on the top of the political agenda. Brazil is an insulated country and does not look towards certain experiences abroad. Mendel's book helps to broaden the debate on showing how this right is exercised in several countries that have adopted rules more advanced than in Brazil,” notes Rodrigues.

The importance of the right to information and the right to know is an increasingly constant refrain in the mouths of civil society, academics, the media and governments. Over the past 10 years, this right has been recognized by an increasing number of countries. In 1990 there were only 13 countries that had adopted national right to information laws. Now there are more than 70.

Toby Mendel, the author of the publication and UNESCO consultant, notes that the notion of the right to access information held by public bodies has come of age. He reminds that the 14 countries described in the book have dealt with the different challenges of giving legal effect to this right. According to Mendel, Brazil is more and more concerned with this debate. “11 countries in Latin America have laws giving effect to this right, up from only one country 10 years ago. Brazil is about to become the 12th such country, with the passage of its own access to information law.”

A PDF file in Portuguese (2,2 Mb) is available for free downloading below.

In addition to the original version in English, the publication is currently available in Chinese, French, Nepalese, Russian and Spanish for free download in PDF format: click here.
Related themes/countries

      · Latin America/Caribbean
      · Brazil
      · Weekly newsletter
      · Freedom of Information
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