CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2011: Freedom of Information stakeholders in Africa, supported by their international counterparts, today in Cape Town, South Africa, adopted a landmark Declaration with a call to the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim September 28 “International Right to Information Day”.
Known as the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI), the Declaration was adopted at the end of the three-day Pan African Conference on Access to Information (PACAI) organized by the Windhoek+20 Campaign on Access to Information in Africa in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The adoption session was chaired by the Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Mr. Edetaen Ojo, who explained that the draft Declaration had gone through extensive consultations since the first version was developed on June 1, 2011 and opened for public comments with the result that it had received inputs from a wide variety of sectors and interest groups. He said what was being presented to the Conference for adoption was the sixth version of the Declaration, representing a consensus among the various interest groups.
After a brief debate, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, moved a motion for the adoption of the Declaration and was seconded by Hon. Norris Tweah, Deputy Minister of Information for Liberia. Participants thereafter voted to adopt the Declaration.
The Declaration was thereafter formally endorsed by Advocate Tlakula; the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. Frank la Rue; the Director of Information and Communication at the African Union Commission, Mrs. Habiba Mejri-Cheikh; the Deputy Minister of Information for Liberia; Hon. Norris Tweah; Mr. Cherrif Sy, President of the African Editors Forum (TAEF); Mr. Omar Farouk, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), on behalf of FAJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ); Mrs. Alison Meston of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA); Mr. Toby Mendel, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIANET), the global network of freedom of information advocates; among others.
Click here to download the Declaration.