Adoption of freedom of information laws in the Southern Africa region

April 12, 2010

As of 2008, 78 countries in the world had adopted access to information laws. These laws establish mechanisms for the enforcement of the right to information. Of these, only five are African countries. Some countries in the Southern African region show interest, limited as it may be, in the protection and guarantee of the right to information through legislation and constitutional provisions. By searching for the keyword ‘right to information’ in SALC’s online library here, is a table illustrating the status of legislative and constitutional provisions on the right to access information in the region. The constitutional provisions noted here are direct guarantees of the right to information as being independent from freedom of expression or freedom of press. The reasons for the slow pace of enacting legislative protection merit examination and have troubled me on one too many a night. This, perhaps, is the first step towards tackling this difficult question.

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