In some parts of the world, the right to access information is fairly well entrenched and something that citizens, the media and others are familiar with. In other parts of the world, meanwhile, access to information is but a distant dream. Many countries, however, occupy a sort of middle ground where the right to information is present, but it is neither widely understood, used or complied with. Uganda falls into this latter group – the country has had access to information legislation in place since 2005, but use of and compliance with the law can be patchy in different parts of the country, government departments and among different socioeconomic classes. CIPESA, a grantee of ours in Northern Uganda, are trying to promote use and awareness of the country’s access to information law. Already, the country has an online portal that can be used to make requests to various authorities and with funding from Indigo, CIPESA will be training journalists, CSOs and public officials on how the platform works and what should be done with requests that are received. We hope that our funding of £8,160 will help demystify some of the issues around access to information, while promoting greater use of the legislation and better compliance by local authorities. Frequently, one of the causes for poor compliance with the law has less to do with deliberate obstinacy and more to do with issues of capacity and training. By targeting both users of the law (i.e. media and CSOs) and those responsible for compliance (local officials), we hope that this project can address issues of supply and demand simultaneously.
Accessing Information in Uganda
Awarded on 19 May 2016
CIPESA - Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa
Democratic participation and civil society, Information and Communication Technology, Media and free flow of information
Grant amount £8,160.80