Assessing five years of the Brazilian Freedom of Information Law

  • Assessing five years of the Brazilian Freedom of Information Law
    Author
    • Robert Gregory Michener

      Michener is a professor at FGV's Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (EBAPE) in Rio de Janeiro, a Canadian citizen and naturalized Brazilian.  Founder and current director of the Public Transparency Program at FGV and the Transparency Evaluation Network, an international initiative funded by the Open Society Foundations. Michener is a specialist in transparency policies and access to public information.

      He graduated in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, Montreal, and holds a master's degree in Latin American Studies and a PhD in comparative politics and international relations, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Interested in the politics of countries in the Americas, Michener is currently working on a book commissioned by Cambridge University Press on policies for access to public information in Latin America.

Summary

The working paper addresses the impact of the Freedom of Information Law in Brazil, which inaugurated a new civic and administrative paradigm in the country five years ago. In implementing a Law on Access to Information (LAI, 12,527 / 2011), the State officially passed from the position of holder of the monopoly of "official documents" to guardian of "public information".

Providing citizens with the right to request government information (passive transparency), except with a few exceptions, and forcing government agencies to publish standard information, such as: expenses, contracts and administrative details on their websites (active transparency). The Law of Access to Information helps to break the barrier that separates citizens from the state. In the process, these laws can challenge the power structure.