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THE RIGHT TO KNOW AND THE APRM-PERSPECTIVES FROM GHANA. BENTLEY’S COUNTRY LODGE PRETORIA 29th September, 2004 NANA OYE LITHUR, CHRI AFRICA OFFICE. THE RIGHT TO KNOW IN GHANA, LEGAL FRAMEWORK.

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THE RIGHT TO KNOW AND THE APRM-PERSPECTIVES FROM GHANA

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The right to know and the aprm perspectives from ghana l.jpg

THE RIGHT TO KNOW AND THE APRM-PERSPECTIVES FROM GHANA

BENTLEY’S COUNTRY LODGE

PRETORIA

29th September, 2004

NANA OYE LITHUR, CHRI AFRICA OFFICE


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THE RIGHT TO KNOW IN GHANA, LEGAL FRAMEWORK

  • Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution guarantees the right to information in Ghana, subject to laws necessary in a democratic society

  • Draft Freedom of Information Bill, 2003

  • State party to ICCPR, AfCHPR

  • Adopted Rio, World Summit POA


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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2003

The Objective of the Bill is to provide for the right of access to information held by government subject to exemptions and protection of public interest

Every person has a right of access to information under the control of government unless information falls within exemptions stipulated by law


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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2003-EXEMPTIONS

Government is responsible for making information on their governance available to the people, some information is exempt, these include information from:

-President and V. President’s office;

-Cabinet;

-Law enforcement, public safety and national security;

-International relations;

-Defence of the country;

-economic and other interests.


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CRITIQUE OF THE BILL

  • Bill seems to focus on regulating disclosure and production of info instead of ensuring maximum disclosure

  • Does not contain any penalty provisions in case custodian refuses to provide information

  • No monitoring body appointed to supervise operation of the law compare to SA

  • No suo moto disclosures


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LAWS RESTRICTING ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Some statutes and regulations which seek to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of information include:

  • State Secrets Act,1967(Act 107)

  • Civil Service Law, 1993(PNDCL327)

  • Civil Service Interim Regulations,1960(LI 147)

  • Armed Forces Act,1962(Act 105)

  • ArmedForces(Court-MartialAppealCourt)Regulations,1969(LI1662)


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THE APRM AND GHANA

Ghana was the first African country to submit itself to voluntary assessment under the APRM. Catalogue of processes undertaken so far:

-Inauguration of National APRM Governing Council by the President of Ghana-March 18 2004

  • Setting up of GC Secretariat-Dr Francis Appiah

  • Appointment of Technical Review Teams

  • Hosting of APR Support Mission-Dr Chris Stals

    -National Stakeholders Forum and Workshop-May 2004


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THE APRM AND GHANA

  • Data collection and consultation by technical team followed by review and validation

  • Special sensitisation programmes for govt, media, political parties, youth, security agencies, Chief Directors

  • APRM newsletter

  • Regional sensitisation workshops-to inform stakeholders on work of technical review teams

    • Radio programmes in regions (provinces)

    • Workshop attended by traditional leaders, civil society, DCEs, govt. officers, women groups etc.


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APRM IN GHANA AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION: APPROACH

  • Access to/disclosure of information on the APRM process in Ghana

  • dissemination of information to stakeholders and general public

  • RTI content analysis of APR questionnaires


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Dissemination of information on APRM process in Ghana

  • Generally all processes well disseminated in the media using traditional mediums of radio, television and print, still leaves out some rural folk who do not have access to traditional mediums

  • Have been conducting regional tours

  • Basically events they organize are reported by media, no publication of timetable and processes


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ACCESS TO/DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

  • Not tested, have personally received all requested info at the Secretariat, but may be due to relationship

  • main challenge in collecting data for APR has been uncooperative nature of ministries depts., and agencies in making government documents available to technical teams process fallen behind schedule because of this


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Content analysis: assessing implementation and integration of RTI as a human right in Ghana

  • Access to information not integrated in questionnaires, not listed as a human right or not listed at all

  • After intervention at the stakeholders workshop included in APRM democracy and good governance, corporate governance questionnaire

  • Not mentioned in the two other questionnaires


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CONTENT ANALYSIS CONTD.

  • Good governance: under human rights how free access to info enjoyed

  • Corporate governance: measures available to access info by stakeholders

  • Indirect Economic governance: Extent to which govt relies on groups as source of input in planning macroeconomic outlook

  • Socio-economic :nothing


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RTI/APRM CHALLENGE

PROCURING INFORMATION FROM GOVERNMENT

CONSEQUENCES

OTHERWISE VALUABLE INFORMATION MISSED OUT OF APRM PROCESS

INACCURATE INFORMATION MAY AFFECT OUTCOME

DELAY IN APRM PROCESS


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CONCLUSION

  • NEED TO STEP UP ADVOCACY FOR INTEGRATING THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION IN ALL GOVERNANCE PROCESSES ON THE CONTINENT IF THE APRM IS TO SUCCEED

  • GHANA’S EXPERIENCE HAS MADE ME REALISE THE IMPORTANCE OF ENFORCING THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION

  • RTI ORGANISATIONS SHOULD TAKE AN INTEREST IN APRM PROCESS TO FACILITATE ITS ACCURACY AND SUCCESS

  • COUNTRY REPROTS WILL PROVIDE A WEALTH OF VERIFIED INFO FOR RTI ADVOCACY


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CONCLUSION

ENTRENCH RIGHT TO INFO

+

ADVOCACY


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