Working Group Two Structural and Cultural Context: creating an environment for transparency

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
 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).
 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.