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Monday, August 15, 2022

Should we have a Freedom of Information Act now?

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Freedom of the Press and that of expression are the cornerstones of a democratic society. Any nation that wishes to be free and democratic must also put in place mechanisms which protect and promote freedom of Expression and that of the Press.

In this regard, it is necessary for there to be a Freedom of Information Act to enable the media and the citizens to access accurate, relevant and timely information from the governors. Of what use will freedom of the press be if members of the press and/or of the general public cannot access information?

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The lack of a Freedom of Information Act can therefore hamper and curtail the freedom of press and media. We know that the media is the fourth estate and that it is a very important part of the governance process. It is the media that holds the government to account for and on behalf of the public, and thus prevent – or minimize – corruption and abuse of power.

It is therefore high time that the government of The Gambia worked assiduously to ensure that a Freedom of Information Act is passed so that journalists and members of the general public can access information anytime they need it.

Without this in place, efforts to democratize the country will be futile or of very little effect. The Ministry of Justice, the National Assembly, and the Ministry of Information should all work together to ensure that they come up with this Act as soon as possible.

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