Article 19 throws its weight on Access to Information ahead of Presidential elections



   Article 19 calls government, others to provide ATI ahead of elections


    By Sheriff Saidykhan

ARTICLE 19 in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights (Pretoria) and The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has on Tuesday 30th November 2021 called on the government and politicians to provide proactive disclosure of Access to Information (ATI) ahead of the Presidential election.

 The daylong zoom event was anchored on“Enhancing Access to Information during elections in The Gambia”

The event held at the Human Rights office in Brusubi, brought together Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), human rights actors and media practitioners to mitigate strategies for the effective implementation of Access to Information Act. 

The objective of the event was to raise awareness on the right of access to information in The Gambia.

Bintou Jaiteh, from Article 19 spoke of the importance of Access to Information, in the drive towards engaging citizens’ participation in decision making process of the country. 

The African Union guidelines on Access to Information in election, she said was to “popularise the African Union guidelines on Access to Information in election, and to generally discuss some of the challenges that we are facing in The Gambia in terms of accessing information and freedom of expression” she said.   

The challenges on Access to Information she said, was due to the inactive implementation of the Act.

“One major problem is the issue of implementation, which is a problem that we are facing. It is enacted, but what are some of the mechanisms in place to ensure its implementation so these are questions left unanswered” she quizzed.

Jegan Grey Johnson, from the Open Society Foundation in South Africa highlighted the significance of Access to Information during election. This he believes will ensure the state media to proactively monitor the elections.

“The state media in this case need to proactively involve, on how they are monitoring the elections. Air time they give in, how much money was received for adverts” he concluded.   


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