As the world marks today September 28, 2016 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) wishes to underline the importance of access to information as an indispensable tool for the promotion of press freedom and freedom of expression; for fighting corruption and promoting good governance which are all fundamental pre-requisites for the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Goal 16 enjoins states to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” A legal access to information is critical to achieving this inclusiveness. This is underscored by target 10 of this Goal of the SDGs which require states to “Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.”
On the International Day for Universal Access to Information, the MFWA is urging states in West Africa who are yet to pass Right to Information (RTI) laws to expedite processes for having RTI legislation in place. We also urge countries that already have RTI laws to ensure effective implementation of the laws.