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Draft model law on Access to Information for AU member states introduced
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe
May 02, 2011

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Preamble

Recalling resolution [Resolution 167 (XLVIII] of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights authorising the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa to initiate 'the process of developing a model access to information legislation for Africa';

Recalling further Resolution 122 (XXXXII) 07 of the African Commission confirming that 'the right to access information which is a component of the fundamental right to freedom of expression is indeed covered by the mandate of the Special Rapporteur', thus amending the title of the Special Rapporteur to include Access to Information;

Conscious that the adoption of a model law on access to information in Africa is essential to the fulfilment of the mandate of the African Union to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter);

Recognising the right of access to information as an international human right as expressed in Articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

Encouraged by the express recognition by Member States of the significance of the right of access to information as expressed in Article 9 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption requiring States Parties to adopt legislative and other means to 'give effect to the right of access to any information that is required to assist in the fight against corruption' as well as the African Charter on Elections and Democracy which lists as one of its objectives, 'the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information . . . ';

Concerned that despite the potential of access to information legislation to foster good governance through enhancing transparency, accountability and the participation of persons in public affairs, including by exposing corruption and issues associated with underdevelopment on the continent, there is a dearth of access to information legislation in Member States;

Committed to addressing the limited guarantees for access to information on the continent by assisting Member States in formulating, adopting or reviewing access to information legislation which meets minimum thresholds of good practice and providing uniform benchmarks for effective implementation of such legislation;

Hereby endorses the following model law on access to information for adoption by Member States of the African Union.

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