Lecturer Julian Rodriguez, BCMN, traveled to San Francisco, Colombia, in September to collaborate with Catholic University of Colombia Law School about access to public information.

In March 2014, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed the Colombia’s Access to Information Law, the equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act in the U.S., to promote transparency in government agencies and to give citizens the right to public information.

Since 2015, Rodriguez has been helping develop an online tool to facilitate communication between Colombian citizens requesting public information and government entities. The online system will require users to register themselves and find the proper office before creating a request for information. The Colombian government must respond to such a request within a certain number of days. If the agency does not respond, the requester has the right to file a motion. The system will keep individuals informed during the process.

Researchers will examine the efficacy of this program to see if it can be implemented at the national level.

“As soon as the pilot program takes off, then we plan to start expanding to the next town until, hopefully, we get to implement this mediating tool—digital tool—throughout the Department of Cundinamarca,” Rodriguez said.

This project began in 2015 and will extend to 2018.