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24.05.2007 General News

Pass Right to Information Bill – Coalition

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The Freedom of Information Coalition, Ghana, calls on the government to accelerate the passage of the Right to Information Bill and honour its promise to Ghanaians and the international community.

The Coalition said it believed strongly that some challenges, though apparently insurmountable, could be overcome overtime but could not be a pre-condition for the passage of a fundamental right. It is the very essence of good governance and adherence to the principles of accountability, transparency, integrity, responsiveness, effective participation, the rule of law and human rights.

A statement signed in Accra by Nana Oye Lithur for the Coalition noted that various government officials had made comments expressing concern about calls for accelerating the passage of the Bill.

These comments, the Coalition said, had generated uncertainties and confirmed the Government's new position on the matter.

“It has become apparent that government now believes that the building of a national information management system and the promotion of a proper record keeping culture is a pre-condition to fulfilling its mandate under Article 21(f) of the 1992 Constitution.

“It guarantees that all persons shall have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws as necessary for a democratic society.”

The Coalition said these provisions were deep rooted in the African Union Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, which expressly called for the right to information to be protected by laws.

“In addition to these obligations, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of which Ghana is state party, states that 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.'”

Source: GNA

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