• Wed. Jun 5th, 2024

For A Free & Vibrant Media

GPU Engages Government Information Officers on ATI, Document Management Practices

Jun 5, 2024
Bintou Jaiteh, Legal Practitioner, who was part of the campaign for an access to information law in Gambia, presents on case studies on ATI law implementation from other countries and best practices.

By Saffiatou Colley

Gambia Press Union (GPU), in collaboration with the Department of Information Services (DOIS), on Wednesday engaged 25 government information officers on access to information (ATI) and good document management practices.

The engagement also involved discussions of case studies on ATI law implementation from other countries and best practices.

This activity forms part of a two-year project funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) that the Gambia Press Union (GPU) is implementing in collaboration with the Civil Society Coalition on Access to Information, the Media Council of the Gambia, and government partners like the DOIS.

It is aimed at exposing the Information Officers to acquire knowledge of good and effective public information management practices for the implementation of Access to Information Act.

“…we will be discussing the role of information officers as it relates to good document management practices and case studies on ATI law implementation from other countries,” GPU Secretary General, Modou S. Joof, said.

“The project is designed to maximise the benefits of the ATI law by promoting information requests from journalists and members of the public, information provision from the government, and the potential benefits derived from the application of the law.”

Section 6 of the ATI law creates a duty on every public body (or government institution) to create, keep, organize and maintain its information in a manner which facilitates access to information.

This follows that public bodies should produce information in respect of all its activities; arrange all information in its possession systematically and in a manner that facilitates prompt and easy identification and access; and keep all information in its possession in good condition and in a manner that preserves the safety and integrity of its contents.”

“It is worth noting that access to diverse information enhances informed decision-making; thus, encourages participation in national development,” the Principal Information Officer, DOIS, Madiba Sillah, said.

He said it was in recognition of this power of information and the desire to create the right political and legal mechanism for access to public information that the Gambia Government delivered on its promise of an access to Information law in August 2021.

Sillah said DOIS will continue to build partnerships with relevant institutions both state and non-state actors for the smooth and effective implementation of the access to information law, and other development interventions.

The GPU-UNDEF project focuses on strengthening public access to information and media professionalism in The Gambia, and to strengthen public awareness and understanding of the ATI law.

It will also raise awareness about the role of the Media Council of The Gambia (MCG) and promote journalists’ compliance with the Cherno Jallow Charter of Ethics for Journalists.

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