South Sudan launches regulations on access to information
South Sudan joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information on 28 September 2021 under the theme “Right to Know-Rebuilding Communities with Access to Information.” The event brought together stakeholders from the government, media associations, journalists, CSOs, law fraternity and academicians that tackled issues on existing legal frameworks and the critical role of access to information in ensuring transparency and accountability by public institutions.
At this occasion, the South Sudan Information Commission launched Regulations on Access to Information, 2021 and two training manuals for CSOs and Public Information Officers, which were developed with UNESCO technical assistance. In his remarks, Hon. Moyiga Nduru Korokoto, Commissioner for Access to Information highlighted that having the launched documents in place is critical to facilitate the Commission’s efforts to realize access to information and ensure proactive Information disclosure by public institutions. Having policies in place and the willingness to implement them is critical to ensuring that targets such as access to information for everyone and other fundamental rights are achieved.
In addition, Mr. Tap Pant Raj, UNESCO Education Specialist urged stakeholders to continue implementation of constitutional, and policy guarantees for access to information and for State institutions and regulators to do their utmost to balance the right to privacy and the right to information when there is a potential conflict between them. Mr. Tap Raj also called on for public information to be availed in national languages and in a diversity of accessible formats with use of accessible technologies.
For his part, Mr. Samuel Doe, UNDP Country Representative called on journalists and media managers to always convey accurate, factual and well researched information to the public with the aim to curb misinformation, while at the same time using the media to promote peace, reconciliation and social cohesion and sustainable development.
This year’s national event was organized by the South Sudan Information Commission, with support from UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on freedom of expression and safety of journalists, UNDP, NPA and Community Media Network South Sudan. Commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information Day has been followed with a series of T.O.T workshops for CSOs and Journalists on the recently launched training manual for the CSOs.