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24.05.2007 General News

Passage of information bill not simple – Aliu

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The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama has said the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill was not as simple as it seemed because there should be a lot of work to prepare people for its passage.

Alhaji Mahama was answering a question from a participant at a seminar organized by Les Aspin Centre for Government, an academic and experiential-educational leadership training institute of Marquette University, USA.

The 12-day seminar on accountability and good governance brought together 17 government and civil society personnel from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Liberia.

An official of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), who touched on what was involved in the passage of the bill, said it was more complicated and technical.

The official who declined to be named explained that the bill touched on security, investment, laws on intellectual property rights and many others that needed to be looked at well before passage.

The SFO official said people needed to be educated on what kind of information they had access to, and said for instance, where one differentiates between the public life and the private life when dealing with private information about individuals in public offices.

“To what extent can one force a journalist to disclose a source? It is not easy for the general public to understand such issues.”

“It is not a simple law like the whistle blowers law or the domestic violence law,” the official said.

He stressed that the public needed to be educated to balance information that was of public interest and those of national interest.

Source: GNA

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