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Stakeholders Review Draft Roadmap for the Implementation of the Access to Information Act, 2021

Nov 22, 2022
Today, the GPU, Ministry of Information, CSO Coalition on ATI and various stakeholders from civil society, academia, the private sector and the media, began a two-day Review and Validation of the Draft National Roadmap for the Implementation of the Access to Information Act, 2021.
The Gambia joined other West African peers into adopting an access to information legislation through the National Assembly in July 2021, which was assented to by the President of the Republic in August last year.
This legislative framework grants the citizens – and everyone else – the legal right of access to information that the government and private entities keep on behalf of the public.
This follows an unprecedented five-year CSO-led right-to-know campaign, which has in great ways, increased public interest on access to information in The Gambia.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Information, Ebrima Sankareh, Principal Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Information, said the successful implementation of the access to information law requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
“The roadmap that is to be reviewed and validated in these two days would surely serve as a good guide towards the robust implementation of the ATI law,” Mr. Sankareh said. “The Hon. Minister of Information is committed to the full implementation of the access to information legislation.”
In his welcome statement, GPU President Muhammed S. Bah said “the commitment from the government to recognised access to information as a human right has been welcomed by various stakeholders.
“However, having an access to information legislation is not the be all and end all of our quest as a nation to ensuring people have a right of access to public information or ensuring transparency and accountability in government and governance processes,” Bah said on Friday.
As the legislation enters into its implementation phase, it is important that all the necessary tools and mechanisms are put in place for the effective application, use, and implementation of the law.
“We therefore count on everyone’s knowledge and expertise… to put our heads and minds together, to not only fulfill this part of the consultation process for the development of a roadmap, but to make it the best guide to the implementation of the ATI law that we will ever have,” Bah said.
Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the CSO Coalition on Access to Information, Basiru M. Jarju, called for more commitment for the operationalisation of the ATI law.
“The Gambia government should fully work with civil society and other stakeholders for the effective implementation of Access to Information Act, in fulfilment of people’s right to access information from held by the government and its agencies,” said Mr. Jarju, who is also the Secretary of the Broadcasters Association of The Gambia.
The roadmap identifies the physical, administrative, digital, policy, and capacity related gaps in the implementation of the ATI legislation; and recommend solutions to addressing these gaps.
It also highlights the opportunities that come with the implementation of the legislation; map the way forward for the civil society, government, media and private sector; and reinforces the benefits of ATI as a powerful tool to make government accountable and transparent.
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