A follow-up to an earlier post on Toby Mendel’s new book The Right to Information in Latin America: A Comparative Legal Survey. 11 country cases and a comparative analysis chapter are organized around the following categories: definition of access to information (“The Right of Access”); rules for processing of information requests (“Procedural Guarantees” ); public authorities responsible for disclosure (“Duty to Publish”); grounds for refusal to disclose (“Exceptions”); complaint mechanisms for refusal of access (“Appeals”); punishment for obstructing access (“Sanctions and Protections”); and public engagement and education (“Promotional Measures”).
The systematic manner in which Mendel breaks down each country analysis gives the reader a comparative sense of the 11 Latin American countries covered. As I continued going through the country chapters, I gained an appreciation for the various dimensions of how the “right to information” has been institutionalized to varying degrees in different countries in the region. It became clear to me that all these categories are important in getting a sense of whether the “right to information” is indeed a right since, as we know, when it comes to law, the devil lurks in the details.