MFWA, ONIMED convene public forum on access to information and accountable governance in Niger

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with its national partner in Niger, l’Observatoire Nigerien Independent des Medias pour l’Ethique et la Déontologie (ONIMED), will on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, hold a public forum on the theme Access to Information Law for Transparent and Accountable Governance in Niger at Maison de la Presse.

The forum will bring together key stakeholders from government ministries, departments and agencies, representatives from civil society groups, Academia, media groups, journalists and the general public.

Participants will deliberate on Niger’s Access to Information (ATI) Law – Charter on Access to Public Information and Administrative Documents (Ordinance No 2011-22) and its role in engendering transparent and accountable governance as well as the challenges so far. Stakeholders will make key contributions and recommendations which will be documented and shared with relevant offices for necessary actions. The forum will also be used to launch a Manual for Journalists in Access to Information in Niger. The Manual is a tool guide designed to help journalists in the country better understand the law. It provides 10 quick tips on how journalists can utilise the law to access information to advance their work.

Access to Information is universally recognised as a basic human right. In West Africa, 11 countries have so far passed the access to information laws with the latest being The Gambia. Niger adopted the Charter on Access to Public Information and Administrative Documents in 2011. Since its adoption, the public, particularly journalists, have struggled to engage with the law, largely due to the lack of knowledge, understanding and structures to make the law functional.

The forum is therefore expected to increase public awareness of the ATI law and its relevance in governance.

The public forum and the launch of the Manual form part of the MFWA’s project “Promoting Press Freedom, Independent Journalism and Democratic Governance in West Africa” which is supported by the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA).

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