Access to Information is a Pervasive Local Problem, not only a Government Headache
Last year the IPPR sought to make an assessment of the state of access to information in Namibia. The principal means of doing this was by making a range of information requests to over 100 government bodies, public enterprises, private companies, and civil society organisations.
The issue of Access to Information was deemed appropriate because of the strong importance government attaches to making information available to the public, as expressed in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) and NDP5. For example, the HPP commits to providing the “means for access to public information/data and the enact(ing of) freedom of information laws by year two of Harambee” (2017/18).Complementing the HPP is NDP5, which in its executive summary states: “Good governance, responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry are the bedrock of democracy and sustainable development.”
The research report and its findings provide an opportunity for government and other sectors of Namibian society to identify weak points and best practices in the release of information and therefore move towards the NDP5 aim of “universal access to information”.
In the light of the above, it is disappointing that the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Hon. Tjekero Tweya, chose to issue a blanket condemnation of the Access Denied report by claiming it was “devoid of any truth” and that IPPR has a “malicious agenda”.