Spied for strengthening democratic practices

NewsSpied for strengthening democratic practices

Source: FARN

Spied for strengthening democratic practices

Three staff members of FARN are amongst the more than 500 people spied on by the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) of Argentina; most of them are journalists or part of  social organizations. FARN repudiates this kind of actions and any other illegal practice exercised against those who seek to strengthen public debate and institutional dialogue within the democracy’s framework and stresses the inadmissibility of the advancement of these illegitimate practices over fundamental rights.

María Marta Di Paola, Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis and Pía Marchegiani represented  FARN in spaces within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit held in Buenos Aires in December 2017, and in meetings of the G-20 during 2018, in addition to being part of the Civil Society official institutional space for engagement  (C20). Because of their participation in these areas, both FARN in general and Di Paola, Maurtua Konstantinidis and Marchegiani in particular are now among the more than 500 people and institutions illegally spied on by the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI).

The use of their personal data, for purposes that are still unknown, constitutes an unacceptable illegal practice in a democratic context, according to the law that regulates the AFI, “no intelligence service may obtain information, produce intelligence or storing data about people for their political opinion or membership in a social organization (Article 4, subsection 2, Law No. 25,520) ”.

In contrast, all actions of the Agency must strictly comply with the National Constitution; that is, to respect the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association and publication of ideas without prior censorship, among others of fundamental importance for the protection of the right to a healthy environment, such as free access to public information and citizen participation.

FARN stresses the inadmissibility of the advance of these illegal practices over fundamental rights and stresses that the intelligence system must pursue legitimate purposes of defense and national security, always within the framework established by the system of constitutional legality and reasonableness in a context of democracy. That is to say, never affect rights and guarantees protected by the Constitution and be permanently subjected to strict democratic control to never fall into the discretion of any political party.

Democracy in general and environmental democracy in particular must guarantee the exercise of rights without fear of retaliation; an espionage like this could, on the contrary, intimidate people, make them refrain from issuing critical or “disruptive” opinions that would allow them to rethink the organization of society and / or the development orientation to which Argentina should aim for.

For all the aforementioned, FARN expresses its strongest rejection of the illegal espionage carried out by the AFI, both against the members of its team and against journalists and colleagues from other social organizations, actions that have no explanation; FARN declares that it will carry out all the legal and institutional actions necessary to clarify this regrettable event as well as to provide protection to its members; and appreciates the solidarity received while expressing its solidarity with those who suffer from this unjustifiable undemocratic persecution.

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