The African Platform on Access to Information (APAI) declaration was adopted at the Pan African Conference on Access to Information (PACAI), held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Here are the key principles:
Fundamental Right Accessible to Everyone
Access to information is a fundamental human right, it is open to everyone.
All information held by public bodies is public and should be subject to disclosure (except in limited circumstances).
Established in Law
The right to access to information shall be established by law in each African country.
Applies to Public Bodies & Private Bodies
The obligation to access to information shall apply to all public bodies as well as government owned or controlled private bodies.
Clear and Unambiguous Process
The process to obtain information should be simple and fast.
Obligation to publish information
Public and relevant private bodies shall be obliged to proactively release information relating to their activities that is of public interest.
Language and Accessibility
Information should be available in the language of the person seeking it, and in an accessible location and format.
The right to access to information shall only be limited where there would be a significant harm if the information was released.
Independent bodies should be established to monitor and hold government bodies and relevant private entities to account.
Right to personal data
All persons have a right to access and correct their personal data held by third parties.
Adequate protections against different forms of sanctions should be provided for those who disclose information on wrong-doing and information in the public interest.
Right of Appeal
Everyone has the right to appeal administratively any action that hinders or denies access to information or any failure to proactively disclose information.
Duty to Collect and Manage Information
Public and relevant private bodies have a duty to collect information of public interest on behalf of their citizens.
Duty to Fully Implement
Public and relevant private bodies have an obligation to ensure the law is fully implemented.
This article is an adaptation of a piece that originally appeared in the AFRICAN FREE PRESS, a MISA project supported by DW AKADEMIE.