IPC tasks FG on right to information
The need for the Federal Government to respect legal frameworks that guarantee access to information, in line with international standards, has become a source of concern to the International Press Centre (IPC).
In a statement yesterday to mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), IPC lamented lack of access to information in the country, despite the adoption of the national right to information law along with 17 African Union (AU) member states.
The Federal Government signed the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in 2011 to become the ninth country in Africa and among the 127 countries in the world to pass the bill.
IPC Executive Director, Lanre Arogundade, expressed dissatisfaction that the FOI Act had not had the desired impact due to alleged refusal of “a number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to proactively disclose information about their activities, while also failing to respond whenever journalists, civil society activists and other Nigerians make FOI requests.”
According to Arogundade, such conducts clearly undermine the provision of Sections (4) and (5) of the FOI Act that “public institutions shall make public records and information more freely available and provide for public access to public records and information.
Citing Section 22 of the constitution, which empowered the press to monitor governance and hold government accountable, Arogundade suggested that the world access to information day should as well be used to reiterate that “free access to information is a catalyst of press freedom without which good governance would be a mirage.”
While calling on the government to protect the media and whistleblowers, “who are dedicated to the promotion democracy and social justice,” he charged journalists to engage in investigative journalism to prevent impunity.
IDUAI is marked on September 28 as declared by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
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