Ghana, May 2018 – This year’s World Press Freedom Day global celebration, held on 3 May in Accra, provided the European Union Delegation to Ghana with the opportunity to promote the right of access to information, an inherent part of the right to freedom of expression.
Ghana is nearing adoption of a right to information law, yet the bill, pending for many years, remains stalled in the parliament. In this context, the importance and value of the right to information was therefore a key message to highlight as the global media freedom community gathered in the country’s capital.
To this end, the events organised with the support of Media4Democracy in Accra included the participation of international expert Helen Darbishire, who discussed the European experience during a high-level panel debate on access to information during the official UNESCO event. In addition, Media4 Democracy and the EU Delegation organised an expert guest lecture and debate on the topic in association with the University of Ghana’s Centre for European Studies.
At the UNESCO Conference, on 2 May, the high-level panel on the right of access to information was chaired by Sumir Lal of the World Bank, and included Namibia’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa, Mina Mensah of the Ghana RTI Coalition, Nnenna Nwakanma of the World Wide Web Foundation and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. The panellists noted the relationship between the right of access to information and media freedom, and that governments have an obligation to disclose information that permits journalists to do their work.
The lecture at the Centre for European Studies at the University of Ghana, on 4 May, provided around 200 media, political science and other students at the University of Ghana the opportunity to hear from some of Europe and Africa’s leading experts on the right to information. The Media4Democracy guest lecturer, Helen Darbishire underscored that access to information is a fundamental right and that now 123 countries around the world, including 27 European Union countries have access to information laws.
There followed a debate with Fatou Jagne of Article 19, Gilbert Sendugwa of the African Freedom of Information Centre, Guy Berger of UNESCO – along with Ghanaian civil society leaders – Roland Affail Monney of the Ghana Journalists Association, and Seth Abloso of the Right to Information Coalition. The experts stressed the importance of the right to information and it was noted how the European Union could help support sharing of expertise and lessons learned from other countries in Africa, Europe, and around the world.
Downlaod the handout: PTC-18-001_LectureHandout-Ghana-B-web