Freedom of Expression

5 - Chapter IV - Freedom of Expression and Poverty


A.         Introduction


1.         The poverty and social marginalization endured by large sectors of society in the Americas affect the freedom of expression of the hemisphere’s citizens, in that their voices are ignored and consequently left out of any debate.[2]


2.         Poverty[3] can lead to violations of different human rights. The preamble to the American Convention states that ”the ideal of free men enjoying freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights.” Likewise, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has said that, “certainly the requirements of the human right to a dignified life go beyond the equally fundamental contents of the right to life (understood in its strictest sense), the right to humane treatment, the right to personal liberty, the rights related to the system of representative democracy, and all other civil and political rights.”[4]


3.         Similarly, in the preamble to the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“the Protocol of San Salvador”), the IACHR explicitly acknowledged “the close relationship that exists between economic, social and cultural rights, and civil and political rights, in that the different categories of rights constitute an indivisible whole based on the recognition of the dignity of the human person, for which reason both require permanent protection and promotion if they are to be fully realized, and the violation of some rights in favor of the realization of others can never be justified.”


4.         A World Bank document–Can Anyone Hear Us? (Voices of the Poor series)[5]described the low levels of participation enjoyed by the poor of the world and, in particular, of Latin America. Historically, the poor have been denied access to information and the ability to influence decisions with a profound impact on their everyday lives, and as a result, they are denied their right to actively participate in the daily business of their countries.[6]


5.          The Inter-American Commission has stated on many occasions that poverty is a fundamental denial of human rights:


Extreme poverty [constitutes] a generalized violation of all human rights, civil and political, as well as social, economic, and cultural. The requirements of the human right to a dignified life transcend the equally fundamental contents of the right not to be subject to arbitrary execution, the right to personal integrity, the right to personal liberty, the rights related to the system of representative democracy, and the other civil and political rights. In addition to earmarking public resources in sufficient quantity for social and economic rights, the States should see to the appropriate use of those resources. Experience shows that extreme poverty has the potential to seriously erode the democratic institutional framework, as it tends to thwart democracy and render illusory citizen participation, access to justice, and the effective enjoyment of human rights.[7]


6.         In his report for the year 2000, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression described the effect that discrimination against certain sectors of the population has on the strengthening of democracies:


The lack of equal participation makes it impossible for democratic, pluralistic societies to prosper, thereby exacerbating intolerance and discrimination. Including all sectors of society in communication, decision-making and development processes is essential to ensure that their needs, opinions and interests are taken into account in policy-making and decision-making.[8]


It is precisely through active, peaceful participation in the democratic institutions of the State that the exercise of freedom of expression and information by all sectors of society is manifest and enables historically marginalized sectors to improve their conditions.[9]


7.         Thus, effective respect for freedom of expression is a basic tool for the incorporation of those who, because of poverty, are marginalized from information and all dialogue. Within this frame of reference, it is the state’s duty to guarantee equal opportunities for all for with respect to the discrimination-free receiving, seeking out, and sharing of information through any communication channel whatsoever, eliminating all measures that discriminate against the equal and full participation of individuals or groups in their countries’ political, economic, and social life.[10] This right guarantees an informed voice for all people, which is an indispensable requirement for the subsistence of democracy.


8.         In light of the complexity of the matter at hand, this chapter does not aspire to offer an exhaustive analysis of the factors that give rise to poverty or of the different alternatives available for combating it. The report merely attempts to identify certain aspects relating to different forms of exercising freedom of expression that, in the opinion of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, could help improve the lot of the hemisphere’s poor.


9.         Consequently, the following paragraphs examine issues related to the need for guaranteeing the discrimination-free exercise of this right; they also address the importance of establishing mechanisms to allow the poor access to public information as part of their freedom of expression. Finally, they set forth a broad framework for the exercise of freedom of expression and the right of assembly in public forums and the use of community media channels for making those rights a reality.  The conclusion offers some final remarks.


B.        Enjoyment of freedom of expression without discrimination on the grounds of social origin or economic position


10.       One of the basic pillars of democratic systems is respect toward individuals’ basic rights in accordance with the principles of equality and nondiscrimination. The history of the hemisphere shows that one of the main challenges of consolidating democracy is to increase participation by all social sectors in the political, social, economic, and cultural life of each nation. Thus, Article 1 of the American Convention states the need for the member states to “undertake to respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those rights and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of [...] social origin, economic status [...] or any other social condition.”


11.       The inter-American human rights system establishes and defines a set of basic rights, rules, and obligatory behaviors for promoting and protecting those rights, which include the right of free expression.


12.       The right to freedom of expression, and the respect enjoyed by that right, serves as an instrument for the free exchange of ideas, strengthens democratic processes, and offers citizens an indispensable tool for informed participation. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has said that:


Freedom of expression is a cornerstone upon which the very existence of a democratic society rests. It is indispensable for the formation of public opinion [...] It represents, in short, the means that enable the community, when exercising its options, to be sufficiently informed. Consequently, it can be said that a society that is not well informed is not a society that is truly free. Freedom of expression, therefore, is not just a right of individuals, but of society as a whole.[11]


13.       In this context, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression has stated that the member states must work to eliminate all measures that discriminate against individuals and prevent them from fully participating in their countries’ political, economic, public, and social life. The American Convention on Human Rights protects the right of nondiscrimination as a basic pillar in strengthening and upholding the hemisphere’s democratic systems.[12] Articles 33 and 44 of the OAS Charter provide that:


Equality of opportunity, [...] equitable distribution of wealth and income, and the full participation of their peoples in decisions relating to their own development are, among others, basic objectives of integral development. [They encourage] the incorporation and increasing participation of the marginal sectors of the population, in both rural and urban areas, in the economic, social, civic, cultural, and political life of the nation, in order to achieve the full integration of the national community, acceleration of the process of social mobility, and the consolidation of the democratic system.


14.       The lack of equal participation makes it impossible for democratic, pluralistic societies to prosper, thereby exacerbating intolerance and discrimination. Including all sectors of society in communication, decision-making, and development processes is essential to ensure that their needs, opinions, and interests are taken into account in making policies and decisions. In this regard, the Inter-American Court has stated that:


A democratic society requires the guarantee of the widest possible circulation of news, ideas and opinions as well as the widest access to information by society as a whole […] It is also in the interest of the democratic public order inherent in the American Convention that the right of each individual to express himself freely and that of society as a whole to receive information be scrupulously respected.[13]


15.       The Special Rapporteur believes that it is through the active and peaceful participation of society as a whole in the state’s democratic institutions that the exercise of freedom of expression manifests itself in full, allowing the lot of historically marginalized sectors to be improved. The Rapporteur’s office thus understands that to guarantee poor people full and nondiscriminatory enjoyment of freedom of expression, states must work for conditions that encourage the active participation of the poor in their countries’ political, social, economic, and cultural lives. In pursuing these conditions, efforts must be made to avoid establishing practices that, de facto or de jure, discriminate against those sectors and that deny them the right to exercise their freedom of thought and expression.


C.        Access to public information as an exercise of the freedom of expression of the poor


16.       The Rapporteur’s office has on countless occasions emphasized the importance of the right of access to information as an indispensable requirement for the very functioning of democracy. In a representative and participatory democratic system, the citizenry exercises its constitutional rights and, inter alia, the rights to political participation, the vote, education, and association, by means of broad freedom of expression and free access to information.


Public disclosure of information enables citizens to monitor public administration, not only confirming its adherence to the law, which government officials have sworn to obey and uphold, but also by exercising the right of petition and the right to obtain transparent accountability.[14]


           17.       Access to information, in addition to being an important aspect of freedom of expression, is a right that encourages people’s autonomy and allows them to pursue a life plan that is in accordance with their own free decisions.[15]


18.       Consequently, the failure of one sector to participate in understanding information that will affect them directly limits basic freedoms, denies people dignity,[16] and hinders the broad development of democratic societies, exacerbating the potential for corrupt behavior within the government and promoting policies of intolerance and discrimination.


19.       The UNDP’s Human Development Report notes that, in general, it is the poor who are least able to obtain information about the decisions and public policies that affect them directly, thus denying them information that is vital to their lives, such as information about free services, awareness of their rights, access to justice, etc. In turn these sectors enjoy only limited access to traditional information sources for expressing their opinions or making public allegations about violations of their basic rights.[17]


20.       Without this information, the right of free expression cannot be fully exercised as an effective mechanism for citizen participation or for democratic oversight of governance. These controls are even more necessary, because one of the main obstacles that stand in the way of strengthening our democracies is corruption involving public officials. The absence of effective control can “imply activity utterly inimical to a democratic State and opens the door to unacceptable transgressions and abuse.”[18] Guaranteeing access to official information helps to increase transparency in government affairs and thus serves to reduce government corruption.


21.       State corruption directly affects the poor when, for example, budgets earmarked to public works projects are involved. The report Can Anyone Hear Us? (Voices of the Poor series) states that:[19] “The poor have widespread and intimate experience with the adverse effects of corruption in health, education, water, forestry, government-provided relief, and, where it is available, everyday social assistance.” The phenomenon of corruption has to do not only with the legitimacy of public institutions, society, the integral development of peoples, and all other more general aspects mentioned supra, but also has a specific impact on the effective enjoyment of human rights in society in general and among the poor in particular.[20] The Commission has also stated that corruption has an adverse impact on the protection of economic, social, and cultural rights in the following terms:


[Corruption] is one of the factors that can stand in the way of the state adopting “the necessary measures [...] to the extent allowed by their available resources [...] for the purpose of achieving progressively [...] the full observance of such rights. In this regard, it has been noted that the maximum available resources are not utilized as effectively as possible towards the realization of economic, social and cultural rights when a substantial portion of the national resources are diverted into the private bank account of a head of state, or when development aid is mismanaged, misused or misappropriated.[21]


22.       The report Can Anyone Hear Us? (Voices of the Poor series) also claims that the poor encounter endless obstacles in attempting to access the services offered by the government. In general, these sectors of the population have little information about the decisions of governments and private agencies that profoundly impact their lives. As the report goes on to say, “when state institutions deteriorate, services such as health and education become privileges accessed primarily by those who already have resources and power.”[22] There is thus an urgent need, on the one hand, to guarantee the necessary channels so the poor can strengthen their own organizations, both within their own communities and in intercommunity networks, and thereby exercise their right to information and to full accountability, without fear of negative personal repercussions. On the other hand, there is a need for states to develop laws and rules governing access to information that are nondiscriminatory and easy to use. Lack of access to information clearly places the neediest sectors of society in a vulnerable situation vis-à-vis potential abuses by private citizens and acts of corruption on the part of state agencies and their officers.[23]


23.       As the Rapporteur stated in his report for the year 2001, the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas underscores the need to support initiatives to improve transparency and thus ensure the protection of public interests and the effective use of resources by governments in pursuit of collective interests.[24] Within this context, the Special Rapporteur considers that corruption could be combated effectively through a combination of efforts designed to raise the level of transparency in respect of government activities.[25] Accordingly, any policy designed to obstruct access to information with respect to government activities poses the risk of promoting corruption within the institutions of the state, and thus weakening democracies. Access to information represents a means of preventing such illegal practices, which inflict great harm on the countries of the hemisphere.[26] Transparency in government can be increased by creating a legal framework that enables society to gain broad access to information. In this context, the rule should be public disclosure of information on government activities as a public good, rather than the manipulation and concealment of government actions.


24.       To summarize, the right of access to information constitutes a legal tool for securing transparency in government undertakings and for assuring oversight and effective participation by all sectors of society on a nondiscriminatory basis.[27] Encouraging and promoting information access among the poorest sectors of the hemisphere’s societies will enable their active and informed participation regarding the design of public policies and measures that directly affect their lives.


D.         Exercising freedom of expression and the right of assembly


25.       The inability to have an impact on policy planning or to be heard are factors that also influence poor people’s increased feelings of vulnerability and inability to protect themselves against possible violations of their rights.


26.       The UNDP’s Human Development Report 2000 highlights the willingness to participate of the peoples of the world: “People do not want to be passive participants, merely casting votes in elections. They want to have an active part in the decisions and events that shape their lives.”[28]


27.       As the Inter-American Commission has said:


The concept of representative democracy is founded upon the principle that it is the people who have political sovereignty; exercising that sovereignty, they elect their representatives–in indirect democracies–to exercise political power. These representatives, moreover, are elected by the citizens to apply certain policy measures, which in turn means that the nature of the policies to be applied has been widely debated–freedom of thought–among organized political groups–freedom of association–that have had an opportunity to voice their opinions and assemble publicly–right of assembly. Moreover, the observance of these rights and freedoms calls for a legal and institutional order wherein the law take precedence over the will of the governing and where certain institutions exercise control over others so as to preserve the integrity of the expression of the will of the people–a constitutional state or a state in which the rule of law prevails.[29]


28.       It is therefore important to overturn the conception of poor people as objects requiring attention and to convert them into an active subjects of opinion, action, and decision-making.[30] It can be said that one fundamental element in strengthening democracies is the establishment of a legal framework that protects the rights of participation and free expression with respect to all sectors of the population.


29.       However, that is not a reality at the present. Our hemisphere’s most impoverished sectors encounter discriminatory policies and actions, their access to information about the planning and execution of measures affecting their daily lives is nascent at best, and, in general, the traditional channels of participation for publicizing their complaints are frequently blocked off to them. Faced with this, in many countries around the hemisphere, protests and social mobilizations have become a tool for petitioning the authorities and a channel for publicly denouncing human rights abuses and violations.


30.       Article 15 of the American Convention protects the right of peaceful, unarmed assembly and states that it may be subject “only to such restrictions established by law as may be necessary in a democratic society, in the interest of national security, public safety or public order, or to protect public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.” The exchange of ideas and social demands as a form of expression presupposes the exercise of related rights, such as the right of citizens to assemble and demonstrate and the right to a free flow of opinions and information. The rights enshrined in Articles 13 and 15 of the American Convention are vital elements for the correct functioning of a democratic system that embraces all sectors of society.


           31.       The Rapporteur’s office points out that in spite of the importance of both freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly for the functioning of a democratic society, this does not make them absolute rights. Accordingly, both Article 13 and Article 15 of the Convention identify the restrictions that can be placed on them, and require that those restrictions be expressly established in law and necessary to ensure respect for the rights of others or to protect national security, public order, or public health or morals.


           32.       With respect to the word “necessary,” the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that while it does not mean “indispensable,” it does imply the existence of a “pressing social need” and that for a restriction to be “necessary” it is not enough to show that it is “useful,” “reasonable” or “desirable.” The Court has further stated that “the legality of restrictions [...] depend upon showing that the restrictions are required by a compelling governmental interest. That is, the restriction must be proportionate and closely tailored to the accomplishment of the legitimate governmental objective necessitating it.”[31]


33.       With respect to the right of assembly as a way for society to express its participation and the state’s authority for regulating it, the Rapporteur’s office points out that under the parameters set in the previous paragraph, this regulating of the right of assembly cannot be intended as the basis for banning any meeting or demonstration. On the contrary, regulations requiring, for example, prior notifications or warnings are intended to inform the authorities so they can take the steps necessary to allow the right to be exercised without significantly hindering the normal activities of the rest of the community.[32]


34.       The Rapporteur’s office points out that the participation of society through demonstrations is important for consolidating the democratic existence of those societies and that, in general, as a way of exercising freedom of expression, it is of keen social interest; consequently, states have very narrow margins for restricting that form of free expression.[33] The Rapporteur’s office understands that restrictions on the right of assembly must be intended exclusively to prevent serious and imminent dangers. A future, generic danger would be insufficient, since the right of assembly cannot be taken as synonymous with public disorder and, hence, subjected to restrictions per se.[34]


           35.       Moreover, and within the limits set by the previous paragraphs, the per se criminalization of public demonstrations is, in principle, inadmissible, provided they take place in accordance with the right of free expression and the right of assembly. In other words: the question is whether the application of criminal sanctions is justified under the Inter-American Court’s stance whereby such a restriction (i.e., criminalization) must be shown to satisfy an imperative public interest that is necessary for the functioning of a democratic society. Another question is whether the imposition of criminal sanctions is the least harmful way of restricting the freedom of expression and right of assembly exercised through a demonstration in the streets or other public space. It should be recalled that in such cases, criminalization could have an intimidating effect on this form of participatory expression among those sectors of society that lack access to other channels of complaint or petition, such as the traditional press or the right of petition within the state body from which the object of the claim arose. Curtailing free speech by imprisoning those who make use of this means of expression would have a dissuading effect on those sectors of society that express their points of view or criticisms of the authorities as a way of influencing the processes whereby state decisions and policies that directly affect them are made.


           36.       Consequently, before placing restrictions on this form of expression, member states must conduct a rigorous analysis of the interests they seek to protect with those restrictions, while at the same time bearing in mind the high level of protection warranted by freedom of expression as a right that guarantees citizen participation and oversight of the state’s actions in the public arena.


E.        The exercise of freedom of expression through community media channels


37.       The freedom of individuals to debate openly and criticize policies and institutions guards against abuses of human rights. Openness of the media not only advances civil and political liberties–it often contributes to economic, social, and cultural rights. In some instances, the use of the mass media has helped drive public awareness and bring pressure to bear for the adoption of measures for improving the quality of life of the population’s most vulnerable or marginalized sectors.[35]


38.       However, the traditional mass media are not always accessible for disseminating the needs and claims of society’s most impoverished or vulnerable sectors. Thus, community media outlets have for some time been insisting that strategies and programs that address their needs be included on national agendas.


39.       Radio stations that style themselves as community, educational, participatory, rural, insurgent, interactive, alternative, and citizen-led are, in many instances and when they act within the law, the ones that fill the gaps left by the mass media; they serve as outlets for expression that generally offer the poor better opportunities for access and participation than they would find in the traditional media.


40.       UNESCO defines community radio in terms of the word “community,” which designates “the basic unit for horizontal social organization.” Thus, community radio “is usually considered complementary to traditional media operations and as a participatory model for media management and production.”[36]


41.       The Office of the Special Rapporteur understands that community radio stations, which must act within a legal framework set by an facilitated by the state, frequently respond to the needs, interests, problems, and hopes of the often, discriminated, and impoverished sectors of civil society. The growing need for expression felt by majorities and minorities that lack media access, and their claims on the right to communication, to the free expression of ideas, and to the dissemination of information makes it necessary to seek access to goods and services that will ensure basic conditions of dignity, security, subsistence, and development.


42.       In many instances, acting in accordance with the law, these stations can facilitate the free flow of information, fueling freedom of expression and dialogue within communities and thus encouraging participation. “Equitable, respectful, and imaginative access to the media, as a contemporary synthesis of the public sphere, is a fundamental way of breaking down the ‘individualized’ and insular reading of poverty, provided that we supersede the view that holds that more media coverage, more news items or programs about poverty and poor, and more chronicles (from outside) truly represent the empowerment of marginalized sectors and are preferred over democratic communications.”[37]


43.       Given the potential importance of these community channels for freedom of expression, the establishment of discriminatory legal frameworks that hinder the allocation of frequencies to community radio stations is unacceptable. Equally worrisome are those practices that, even when the legal framework is being respected, pose unjustified threats of closure or arbitrary seizures of equipment.


44.       Having said this, there is a technological question that should not be ignored: to ensure optimal use of the radio spectrum by radio and television stations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) allocates countries groups of frequencies which they then administer within their territories, thereby, inter alia, preventing interference between different telecommunications services.


45.       With this, the Office of the Special Rapporteur understands that states, in administering the frequencies of the radio spectrum, must assign them in accordance with democratic guidelines that guarantee equal opportunity of access to all individuals. That is precisely the thrust of Principle 12 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression.[38]


F.         Final comments


46.       The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression understands that there is a close relationship between full enjoyment of the right of free expression–or, rather, the absence thereof–and poverty. One of the goals of democracies is to increase political participation and decision-making at all levels and to develop policies that facilitate the population’s access to issues that affect them directly. In this way, democracies empower societies for active participation through access to information, the creation of forums for participation, and tolerance toward dissent.


47.       This report has merely been a first attempt at analyzing the different ways in which those sectors of Latin America’s population with unsatisfied basic need exercise their right of free expression.


48.       The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression recommends that the member states adopt the measures necessary to guarantee this right in accordance with the statements made in the body of this chapter.



[1] The Rapporteur’s Office is grateful for the cooperation of Maria Seoane, a journalist who, as a consultant with the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and with assistance from the journalist Hector Pavón, conducted a field research project into poverty and freedom of expression in the Americas that they presented in July 2002. Their research was used as groundwork for this chapter.

[2]Santiago Canton, then Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, OAS, statement to the United Nations: Report for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 56th Session, March 20 to April 28, 2000.

[3]According to a report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Latin America has 200 million poor people (44% of its total population). The poorest countries are Honduras(79.1%), Nicaragua(67.4%), Paraguay(61.8%), Bolivia(61.2%), Ecuador(60.2%), Guatemala(60.4%), Colombia(54.9%), and El Salvador (49.9%). High levels are also found in Peru(49%), Venezuela(48.5%), and Mexico(42.3%). These nations are followed by Brazil(36.9%), Panama(30.8%), Argentina(30.3%), the Dominican Republic (29.2%), Costa Rica(21.7%), Chile(20%), and Uruguay(11.4%).[3] In 1998 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) calculated that 150 million people in Latin America and the Caribbeanlived in poverty, meaning that one out of every three of the region’s inhabitants was poor.  In Lustig, Nora and Ruthanne Deutsch, The Inter-American Development Bank and Poverty Reduction: An Overview. p. 2. IDB, Washington, March 1998.

[4]IACHR, Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, 2000, Chapter VI, paragraphs 1 and 2.

[5]Narayan, Deepa, Can Anyone Hear Us? (Voices of the Poor series), World Bank, 2000.

[6]Public Hearing at the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sub-Committee on Human Rights in Brussels, presentation by Frances D’Souza, "Article 19: Freedom of Expression: The First Freedom?", April 25, 1996.

[7]Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Third Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Paraguay, 2001, Chapter V, paragraph 17.

[8]IACHR, Annual Report, year 2000, Volume III, Report of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, p. 18.

[9]IACHR, Annual Report, year 2000, Volume III, Report of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, p. 19.

[10]See: IACHR, Basic Documents Pertaining to Human Rights in the Inter-American System, OEA/ser.L/V/II92/rev. 3, May 3, 1996.

[11]See: Inter-Am.Ct.H.R., Compulsory Membership in an Association Prescribed by Law for the Practice of Journalism, Advisory Opinion OC-5/85 Series A, Nº 5, para. 70.

[12]See: American Convention on Human Rights, Chapter I, General Obligations, Article 1, Obligation to Respect Rights; and Chapter II, Civil and Political Rights, Article 13, Freedom of Thought and Expression.

[13]Inter-Am.Ct.H.R., Advisory Opinion OC-5/85 Series A, Nº 5, para. 69.

[14]OAS, Model Law on Access to Administrative Information for the Prevention of Corruption. Regional Technical Workshop: Guatemala, November 2000.

[15]Abramovich, Víctor and Christian Courtis: El Acceso a la Información como Derecho en Igualdad, Libertad de Expresión e Interés Público, Felipe González y Felipe Viveros, ed. Cuaderno de Análisis Jurídico, Escuela de Derecho Diego Portales, p. 198. In this article Abramovich and Courtis identify the right of access to information as an instrument of other rights: (1) Information as a mechanism for oversight of the government; (2) information as a mechanism for participation, and (3) information as a way of demanding social, economic, and cultural rights.

[16]UNDP, Human Development Report 2000: Chapter 4: Rights empowering people in the fight against poverty, p. 73.

[17]UNDP, Human Development Report 2000: Chapter 4: Rights empowering people in the fight against poverty, p. 78.

[18]See: Pierini et al., p. 31, citing Habeas Data, Editorial Universidad, Buenos Aires 1999, p. 21.

[19]Narayan, Deepa, Can Anyone Hear Us? (Voices of the Poor series), World Bank, 2000, p. 83.

[20]IACHR, Third Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Paraguay, 2001, Chapter II, paragraph 45.

[21]Ibid., paragraph 48.

[22]World Bank, supra 22.

[23]Narayan, Deepa, Can Anyone Hear Us? (Voices of the Poor series), World Bank, 2000, p. 104.

[24]See: Third Summitof the Americas, Declaration and Plan of Action. Quebec City, Canada, April 20-22, 2001.

[25]See: Inter-American Convention against Corruption, Inter-American System of Juridical Information, OAS.

[26]Chirino Sánchez, Alfredo, Ley Modelo de Acceso a Información Administrativa para la Prevención de la Corrupción, Department of Legal Cooperation and Information, Regional Technical Workshop: Antigua, Guatemala, OAS, November 2000, p. 3.

[27]Chirino Sánchez, Alfredo, Ley Modelo de Acceso a Información Administrativa para la Prevención de la Corrupción, Department of Legal Cooperation and Information, Regional Technical Workshop: Antigua, Guatemala, OAS, November 2000, p. 11.

[28]UNDP, Human Development Report 2000, p. 38.

[29]IACHR, Annual Report 1990-1991, Chapter V, Section III, “Human rights, political rights, and representative democracy in the Inter-American system.”

[30]Acosta, Blanca. Participación y Calidad de Vida, 1999, Uruguay.

[31]OC-5/85, para. 46. See: Eur. Court H. R., “The Sunday Times Case,” Series A, Nº 30, para. 59.

[32]Ruling by the Constitutional Court of Colombia. See: Judgment No. T-456: Right of assembly / Right to demonstrate: Comments by the Court, a. The protected right, July 14, 1992.

[33]See: “Feldek v. Slovakia,” European Court of Human Rights, Judgment of July 12, 2001, paragraph 59.

[34]Constitutional Court of Colombia, Judgment No. T-456, supra 35.

[35]UNDP, Human Development Report 2000: Chapter 3: Inclusive democracy secures rights, p. 58.

[36]UNESCO: World Communication Report 1998, p. 148.

[37]Reguillo Cruz, Rossana, Interview with the journalist Maria Seoane, October 2001.

[38]See: Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, in the appendix to this report. Principle 13 is also of particular relevance.