Twaweza.org

Access to Information | Do Ugandans know?

This publication was updated with additional data in September 2016.

At Twaweza, we strongly believe that public access to government-held information allows individuals to better understand the role of government and the decisions being made on their behalf. With an informed citizenry, governments can be held accountable for their policies, and citizens can more effectively choose their representatives. Equally important, access to information laws can be used to improve the lives of people as they request information relating to health care, education, and other public services.

It should also be noted that the Ugandan government maintains a website dedicated to Access of Information (http://askyourgov.ug/). The website lists 77 public agencies which can be queried. As of 10 October 2016, 304 ATI requests had been made on the website; of these, 50 were marked as “resolved.” A read through the “resolved” category suggests this label is applied to a query that is answered by a relevant official, although it is not clear whether the information provided in the answer satisfies the request made. Another 245 queries on the site are marked as “unresolved” and most of these carry a label of “long overdue.”  In order to inform our work on freedom of information in Uganda, we sought to find out whether Ugandans know about the existence of the Freedom of Information Act which guarantees them the right to access information held by public institutions, as well as what are Ugandan’s thoughts and opinions about information held by public authorities, and whether ordinary citizens ought to have access to this information. This brief presents key highlights from that research.

 This brief presents key highlights from that research.

  • 1 out of 10 Ugandans has heard of the Access to Information Act (ATI).
  • Of those who are aware of the Act, 85% understand its meaning and purpose.
  • 3 out of 4 Ugandans believe that information held by public authorities is a public good, and should be openly accessible to the citizens.
  • 1 in 2 Ugandans believes that there should be no restriction (except national security issues) on what kind of information should be accessible, and 2 out of 3 also believes that such transparency and monitoring of public officials would result in decreases of corruption and other wrongdoing.

Read more: access to information governance Uganda

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Organizations: Twaweza East Africa

Pages: 5

Type: Policy brief

Year: 2016

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