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Published On: Tue, Nov 1st, 2022

It’s a symbolic piece of legislation that signifies the enthusiasm of the government- says Information Minister

The Minister of Information, Lain Queen Jammeh has underscored that it is a symbiotic piece of legislation that signifies the enthusiasm of the Gambia government to advance its democratization process to an unprecedented level capable of embracing, implementing and safeguarding open governance initiatives.

Jammeh was speaking last week at a symposium staged by the Gambia Press Union in collaboration with UNESCO, marking the commemoration of the International Day of Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) 2022 held at the Metzy Residence Hotel in Kotu, with the theme (The State of Preparedness for the Implementation of the Access to Information Act, 2022.)

He further noted that the landmark legislation signals the willingness of the political dispensation to reposition the fourth estate-the media at the centerpiece of accountability for the use of public resources.

He added that Access to Information (ATI) as proclaimed under Sustainable Development Goals 16 and Goal 11 of the African union Agenda 2063 serves as a testimony of the universality of the right to access information and thus, a binding constraint that any development-oriented nation must be ready to adopt.

He said a number of countries in the African continent have implemented the right to access to information on varying scales of proficiency and that the Gambia government is at the verge of joining the long list of counties that truly subscribed to the values of transparency, accountability and pen governance.

He revealed that the ATI Act 2021 must be seen as a significant milestone in their democratization process for which no particular segment of the society can unilaterally claim the credit for its existence, instead the Act should be seen a landmark of what they can realize together in the framework of collaboration, consultation and constructive approaches to human development.

The Gambia Press Union Vice President, Isatou Keita who showed  recognitions to the significance ofcivil society, the media and the private sector, she said  they all have their equal roles for the effective implementation of the law.

She noted that the symposium would set in motion advocacy activities by the GPU and the CSO Coalition on Access to Information around the implementation of the ATI legislation.

Adding that this is intended to gauge the level of preparations done so far by the government on the implementation of the legislation, and to map the way forward for the government, civil society, media, and the private sector and citizens with regards to the process of implementation.

“We hope that after today’s discussions, we will have a clear idea as to where we are, where we ought to be in terms of the implementation process, and the necessary actions by all stakeholders that will get us   there.

This forum also serves as an opportunity for the Ministry of Information as the lead implementer,to take note of suggestions and recommendations from the stakeholders here present, with all the commitment and will needed to operationalize the ATI law,” she mentioned.

Ms Keita thanked UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar for financially supporting the activity.

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