The Minister of Information for Ghana, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has inaugurated the Right to Information Commission Headquarters in Accra.
According to Hon. Oppong Nkrumah, the Right to Information Commission will go a long way to improve Ghana’s quest to ensure everyone have access to information whenever they need it.
Ghana Africa News findings revealed that the right to information is not new on the African continent. It was first adopted by Sweden in 1766 and Finland in 1951. Over the past two decades many African countries have also adopted the laws, indicating acknowledgement that transparency is an essential condition of democracy.
Currently, 24% of the African countries have adopted the law. These countries include: South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, Guinea and Ghana.
Access to Information and Privacy Act in Zimbabwe has rather been used to protect information instead of making it available to the general public all in the name of privacy. As a result, it is not included in counts of RTI laws sometimes.
The Middle East has only three countries adopting the law (Jordan, Yemen and Israel) and it started in the January 2013. In Asia and the Pacific sixteen countries have adopted the access to information laws. They include: Bangladesh, India, Australia, Tajikistan, South Korea, Thailand, Cook Islands, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Uzbekistan Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan.
Fifteen countries in the Americas and six in the Caribbean had access to information laws as of September 2013.
The right to information Act is implicit in the notion that the Ghanaian taxpayers need to have access to information concerning what government does with their money and what government plans to do on their behalf.
The Act is meant to ensure Ghanaians have access to governance or official information from public offices on request and without request.
The Act is meant to put in effect, Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 constitution of the republic of Ghana which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society.”
As far back as 1999, Ghana’s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) drafted an RTI Bill for Ghana. It was reviewed thrice (2003, 2005 and 2007) before it was presented in parliament for the first time in 2010.
In March 2018, the Right to Information Bill, 2018 (2018 Bill or Bill) was placed before Parliament.
The current passage means it has taken more than a year to see the light of day. It has now been given a presidential assent.
Journalists in Ghana largely believe that the passage of the bill into law will make their work easier especially in the area of accessing official government data.
Ghana, one of West Africa’s stable democracies, has had the press playing a crucial role in shaping the democracy. The killing of an investigator linked to undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas was tagged as the most significant blot on the profession in recent years.
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