On 22-23 September 2006, representatives of 30 civil society organisations from 16 countries in Africa met in Lagos to discuss ways to promote the right of access to information held by public authorities and, in particular, to share experiences regarding strategies for advancing the adoption of laws that fully protect this right.
The Regional Workshop on Freedom of Information in Africa was organized by Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and received expert presentations from Freedom of Information advocates from Albania, Bulgaria, and the United States.
AFIC (Africa Freedom of Information Centre) is a membership civil society organization promoting the right of access to information. They strive to become a reliable, dependable and all round freedom of information support centre on the African continent.
The participating organizations expressed concern that Africa is lagging behind in the global movement towards the adoption of Freedom of Information Laws.
The organisations hereby:
Recall African instruments such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, which requires States Parties to adopt measures that guarantee access to information; the Treaty of ECOWAS, which encourages the free flow of information within national borders as well as regional cooperation in the area of information; and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which affirms that “public bodies hold information not for themselves but as custodians of the public good and everyone has a right to access this information”;
Call on governments to guarantee and respect the right of access to information consistent with African and international law and best practice;
Note with concern the increasing tendency to view access to information as a threat to public safety and security;
Affirm that access to information is essential for the protection of other human rights and contributes to accountability, social stability, security and economic development;
Note the value of access to information in the fight against corruption, as recognized by international treaties;
In particular, urge all countries in Africa to sign and ratify instruments such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the UN Convention Against Corruption, which require States Parties to adopt measures that guarantee access to information.
Where is Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC)