access to info. law

Protests against construction of hydropower plants

Several protests were staged against the contruction of Hydro-power plants. For instance in June 2021, a few hundred people occupied the bridge on the Neretva River and protested against the construction of a mall hydropower plant at the river. The protest successfully stopped vehicles and machinery required for construction work. Several other protests were also staged on labour rights by police officers, transport and tourism workers. In another development, media workers have criticised the first draft of the Law on Freedom of Access to Information, which was published by the BiH Ministry of Justice in February 2021, stating that it makes access to information even more difficult for media workers. Read more

Protests against construction of hydropower plants

UN calls on the Solomons to pass freedom of information legislation and set up a human rights body

On 10th May 2021, the UN Human Rights Council reviewed the human rights record of the Solomon Islands as part of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Council UN called on the Solomons to pass freedom of information legislation, set up a human rights body and ratify the ICCPR Read more

UN calls on the Solomons to pass freedom of information legislation and set up a human rights body

Proposed law amendments in Belarus pose serious threats to Freedom of Expression and Press

The increased detention of over 480 journalists between 2020 and 2021, the searching of editorial offices and homes of journalists and the forced diversion of the Ryanair flight 4978 from Athens to Vilnius that subsequently led to the detention of journalist and political activist Roman Protasevich show that the Belarusian authorities are taking action to hinder freedom of the press. This is evident in the introduction of new amendments on 24th May 2021 that threaten the work of journalists. These are amendments to the Law on Mass Events, the Law on Mass Media, and the Law on Telecommunications. Read more

Proposed law amendments in Belarus pose serious threats to Freedom of Expression and Press

Dictatorship-era National Security Law used to intimidate critics in Brazil

On 29th April 2021, Brazil became the second country to surpass 400,000 coronavirus deaths, according to data by Johns Hopkins University. In April 2021 alone, the country lost nearly 85,000 lives – the deadliest month yet of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more  |  Read in Portuguese

Dictatorship-era National Security Law used to intimidate critics in Brazil

Organisers face misdemeanor changes; protests against COVID-19 measures continue

Following a protest on 2nd February 2021, staged by small business owners and entrepreneurs in Zagreb against COVID-19 measures, the Association of Entrepreneurs and its president received two misdemeanour charges. The charges relate to the protesters not respecting COVID-19 measures. Anti-lockdown protests continued in March 2021, with protest parades against the government’s COVID-19 measures organised in six Croatian cities under the slogan "One day all together". In a concerning development for journalists and media freedom, the employment contract of journalist Hrvoje Zovko, the president of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND), was terminated in March 2021. Zovko was fired through the media, and two days later journalist Maja Sever, president of the SNH (Trade Union of Croatian Journalists), was given a "warning before possible dismissal" by her employer Croatian public television (HRT) due to an interview published in the weekly Nacional. Read more

Organisers face misdemeanor changes; protests against COVID-19 measures continue

Human rights organisations concerned about partial justice system in Bolivia

On 18th February 2021, Bolivia legislature approved Supreme Decree 4461, proposed by the current government, which conceded amnesty and pardon to persons deprived of liberty in the context of the political crisis. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Human rights organisations concerned about partial justice system in Bolivia

Renewed pandemic restrictions in Uruguay

In an interview published by El Telégrafo in November 2020, Uruguay’s National Director of Telecommunications Guzmán Acosta y Lara said that “community radio stations that do not fulfil their purpose and compete illegally will undoubtedly be closed down”. Read more

Renewed pandemic restrictions in Uruguay

Bukele secures supermajority in El Salvador's legislature

On 28th February 2021, legislative and municipal elections took place in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele’s party Nuevas Ideas won 56 seats, reaching the number needed to secure a supermajority in the country’s single-chamber legislature for the 2021–2024 period. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Bukele secures supermajority in El Salvador's legislature

Justice for Keyla: nursing student’s suspected homicide sparks outrage in Honduras

In early February 2021, police forces in Honduras repressed protests for justice in the case of Keyla Martínez, a nursing student who died under police custody in La Esperanza, Intibucá. Read more

Justice for Keyla: nursing student’s suspected homicide sparks outrage in Honduras

Concerns over limiting freedom of information

Due to the pandemic, firms and other commercial entities have been exempted from declaring their beneficiaries. NGOs, however, were not. This has placed a significant burden on NGOs, especially for smaller organisations with a small budget. While the current government has not run a smear campaign against NGOs, they are not very NGO-friendly either. Discriminatory laws, such as the law on preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, are in place. In a seperate concern, there are plans to limit freedom of information permanently. According to a proposal of the General Secretariat of government for changes to the application norms of Law 544/2001, public authorities and institutions would need to provide information only in formats they already have. If the institutions do not possess the information in the format that an external actor has requested, they have no obligation to provide any information. NGOs have condemned proposed limitations to freedom of information.

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Concerns over limiting freedom of information