Working Group Two Structural and Cultural Context: creating an environment for transparency This group discussed the necessary structural environment for a transparency regime, as well as structural impediments specific to the region. It focused on seeking strategies and technology to facilitate access to information for the voiceless sectors of society. Finally, the group addressed the cultural factors that affect the right to information, including the culture of secrecy. Issue Statement There are inadequate legal and institutional frameworks for providing the right of access to information in Africa, including lack of or insufficient: • Administrative organizations capable of generating and presenting relevant information, in accessible formats; • Judicial systems with adequate independence and capacity; • A free and professional media; • Legislative and independent oversight mechanisms; • Basic record-keeping, the use of information management and technology; and • Adequate funding for institutions and activities involved in providing access to information to all sections of the population. In the African region, the institutional and culture constraints to providing information to individuals need to be recognized and addressed. Main Discussion & Considerations How to facilitate access and voice for all layers of society Leveraging different modes of publication Proactive release information Clear criteria of access Monitoring schemes and testing existing structures Developing a comprehensive model Using existing initiatives, laws, and statutes Regional Findings Existing initiatives, laws, and statutes need to be leveraged and tested to provide accurate information to individuals. Access to information and voice needs to be given to all layers of society, including vulnerable populations and the powerless. The proactive release of government information affirms that it is the government’s responsibility to provide information to individuals. Individuals from all layers of society have a need for information even though it is not always vocalized. Recommendations & Action Points STATES: Proactively disseminate meaningful information, including national and sub national laws, basic budgetary information, criteria for resource allocation, personnel directories etc. Access to information should be guaranteed through a comprehensive approach including access at all levels, forms and branches of government, and the mechanisms for access should be clear and enforceable (including the creation of a body for the assessment of the whole legal, institutional and structural access to information system). ALL ACTORS: Delivery of information to individuals should be through all possible channels including: newspaper, signage, meetings, depositories, archives, mobile telephone, TV and images, and more advanced technologies.