Access to Information

Many lobby groups and NGO’s advocate legal changes so that access to information laws can be put in place in all countries where secrecy still reigns. These processes generally take long, and often take even longer when there are no real demands for information forthcoming from the public, since then the legal debate remains theoretical and there is no pressure ‘from the ground’ to finally implement the requested changes. The FAIR Helpdesk (facilitator@fairreporters.org and mentor@fairreporters.org) likes nothing better than to battle for information in the public interest, so email us with your information needs and we’ll try to assist.

African Platform on Access to Information

APAI Declaration released

Transparency and open information access in Africa are one step closer, following the adoption of a milestone declaration at the Africa Information and Media Summit (AIMS) in Cape Town on 19 September.

Set out in the AIMS declaration is a call for African governments to adopt a set of principles in promoting information access, including the need for them to pass and implement freedom of information laws.  Less than a fifth of African countries currently have such legislation.

What makes the AIMS statement unique is its signing by the wide range of groups attending the summit – covering African media, governments, civil society and the African Union Commission. This unprecedented convergence of interests at AIMS represented a fusion of prior parallel events that were convened by organisations of African journalists, editors, journalism educators and information activists.

Their show of unity also marked the 20th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration. That 1991 document was later endorsed by the United Nations and UNESCO and it led to World Press Freedom Day being recognized annually around the world every 3 May. The AIMS declaration, called the “African Platform on Access to Information” (Apai), calls for 28 September to be adopted as “World Access to Information Day”.

Read the full declaration (English; Portuguese)

More resources: http://windhoekplus20.org

 

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