Access to information is a right not a privilege
“It is not a privilege for the citizens of Namibia to have access to information, it is their right,” this was a statement made by Honourable Tjekero Tweya, Minister of Information and Communication Technology at the launch of ‘Access to Information for Development’ a short film produced by Joe Vision Production with the help of The British High Commission, early this week.
The Minister emphasised on how important it is for the public to have access to information and how government agencies should not deprive them of this by denying them the information or making it hard for them to get access to the information.
The launch of the film was followed by a panel discussion that included Ally Angula, Fredrico Links, Editor of Insight Namibia and Graham Hopwood from the Institute for Public Policy Research. They were all in agreement that even though policies and regulations are put in place for the public to access this information, most of the time it takes forever to get the information or the case might be that nobody has a clue about what is going on in their own Ministries.
It was also noted that Namibians are way too passive and that they really do not make any effort to get the information, process it and give feedback, and that it was a norm for them to accept no for an answer without disputing it.
Her Excellency, Lomas, UK High Commissioner to Namibia said that the delivery of education, health, housing and other services are improved when citizens know how taxes are being spent, where they can input into decision making and when services are not being delivered as promised.
The film features interviews with The Minister, Advocate Paulus Noa, Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Ally Angula, Business Woman, Dr Monir Islam, Who Country Representative Namibia and Job Amupanda, Affirmative Repositioning Activist. They give views on how important access to information is and how the government can improve on disseminating important information to its citizens.
The film encourages authorities to introduce the necessary legislation, regulations and culture to ensure that access to information is viewed as a right and not a privilege.