Freedom of information laws and information access: The case of Sierra Leone
2017 (English)In: Information Development, ISSN 0266-6669, E-ISSN 1741-6469, Vol. 33, no 2, 190-198 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sierra Leone was engulfed in a destructive civil war between 1991 and 2002. The civil war was partly caused by the non-accountability of the government, endemic corruption, misrule and the mismanagement of the country’s resources. Efforts have been made by the country, with the help of the international community, to embrace a democratic dispensation. To demonstrate its commitment to the democratization agenda, Sierra Leone passed the Right to Access Information (RAI) Act in 2013. The Act guarantees access to government information and also imposes a penalty on failure to make information available. However, Sierra Leone’s state institutions are still weak due to mismanagement and lack of transparency and accountability. Freedom of expression and access to information are cornerstones of modern democracies. Public information/records are a means of power that governments and other political institutions use to exercise control over citizens, but are also a means of citizens’ empowerment. Through access to government information/records, media can play their watchdog role and people can assess the performance of governments and hold them accountable. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the fact that it is not enough to enact freedom of information laws (FOIs) if there is no political will to make government information accessible, an information management infrastructure to facilitate the creation, capture, management, dissemination, preservation and re-use of government information and investments in civil education to promote an information culture that appreciates information as a resource that underpins accountability and transparency.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 33, no 2, 190-198 p.
freedom of information, information access, legislation, public information, Sierra Leone
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32102DOI: 10.1177/0266666916642829ScopusID: 2-s2.0-85011705414OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-32102DiVA: diva2:1075548