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Publish ATI in government Gazette - CoRI

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DAR ES SALAAM: The Chairperson of the Right to Information (CoRI), Kajubi Mukajanga has urged the government to gazette the Access to Information Act 2016 (ATI) so it can be used even as regulations are being prepared.

Mukajanga was delivering a joint statement in a press conference ahead of the International Day for Universal Access to Information which will be commemorated worldwide on September 28, 2017.

 He said the enactment of the ATI, 2016, was one of the major achievements in the legal and regulatory framework in 2016. It is a positive step since for years there had been a demand for a law which would facilitate and guarantee access to information.

 “However we note with some dismay that regulations for this law still have not been prepared; the law has not been gazetted. Effectively we passed this law one year ago but we have been unable to make use of it, “he added.

 Mukajanga emphasised that, the Government should begin a consultative process to prepare the regulations and   complete them as soon as possible.

 In a research conducted between January and February of 2016, researchers posed as ordinary citizens and visited 131 government offices in 26 districts to seek specific types of information. It was found out that, citizens are unlikely to be able to access government information.

 Mukajanga explained that these researchers successfully acquired the information they were looking for in 1 out of 3 cases (33%). This means that two out of three times, when a citizen requests information from a government office, they will not receive that information.

 Although these data were collected before the passage of the Access to Information Act, given the slow pace of implementation there is no reason to suppose that results have changed significantly.

 Based on past research, he said they would further like to draw attention to the following results that 84% of citizens supported the passage of the Access to Information Act in Parliament before it became law, showing that citizens want to access government information.

 The research also showed that 77% of citizens believe that ordinary citizens should have access to information held by government and 80% of citizens believe that corruption and other wrongdoing would be reduced if citizens had more access to information.

 Members of the Coalition on the Right to Information (CoRI) are Tanzania Citizens Information Bureau (TCIB), Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), MISA – Tazania, Sikika, Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Nola – National organisation For legal assistance, Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), Legal and Human Right Centre (LHRC), Tanzania Media Women’s Association and Tanzania Human Rights Defenders.

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