Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a validation meeting on the right to access information in Ghana. Organised by the Coalition On the Right To Information, Ghana. This meeting was held to present findings of a Pilot project on the Gender dimension of access to information in Ghana.
Some people were selected to visit certain public institutions to request for information that was bound to be in the public domain.
On a positive note, information refusal was not gender biased. Almost all requesters - those selected to go round, were denied the information they sort, being male or female did not make a difference, and that's the good news.
However, requests for information was met with suspicion, outright denial and the not so subtle back and forth tactics that is used in unwanted bureaucratic negotiation; bottlenecks at every turn.
Individuals cannot request for information. One must belong to a recognised institution to be able/have a need so great to request for information.
Financial records/information was a no-go area.
There is this bill before the parliament of Ghana, a bill that in essence states that person(s) - citizens of the land have the right to request for information from public institutions and this request must be granted, no justification needed.
Are we aware of said Bill ? Are we willing to push it into law? Are we as a country ready? Are we as citizens interested?
Right to information is a HUMAN RIGHT!