Adequate public access to information is widely regarded as essential for the promotion of democracy, human rights and rule of law across the world. Having access to information gives the public the means to more effectively monitor the government and hold it to account, increasing transparency, controlling corruption and improving public trust in the workings of public authorities and institutions.
Despite being considered a basic human right – forming an integral part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – access to information is not a legal nor constitutional guarantee in many countries.
While the right to information is enshrined in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, there is still no legislation obliging the government and the public sector to make information available to the general public. But, having been elected on a strong anticorruption platform in 2017, President Nana Akufo-Addo has promised to rectify this oversight, and has pledged to pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law by the end of 2018, further consolidating his reputation as a ruthless anti-corruption campaigner and further ensuring that Ghana retains its transparent image, remaining an attractive destination for FDI.
- Almost a decade of attempts to pass the RTI Bill into law have proved beyond the capabilities of several consecutive administrations, and there are fears that a simple lack of political will has been the cause of these failures.
- However, hopes are high that the current NPP administration will succeed where others have so far failed as Akufo-Addo appears to be very aware of the importance of translating campaign promises into tangible policy.