ExpoTimes News Magazine 1 year ago

‘Dr. Shaw’s Contribution to Knowledge and Research is Unmatchable’ Dr Francis Sowa.

Senior   lecturer of the Mass Communications Department at FBC and Chairman of the Media Reform Coordinating Group MRCG Dr. Francis Sowa has described the contributions

Diaspora News
Dr. Ibrahim Seaga Shaw has been exceptional in changing the narrative of public information dissemination in Sierra Leone

By Sheku Putka Kamara


The Right to Access Information Commission, (RAIC) has drawn the attention of all State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and Private Enterprises performing public functions of their obligation to complete their Proactive Disclosure of Information (PDI) Schemes and submit to the RAIC for guidance and or approval pursuant to Section 8 (5) of the Right to Access Information Act 2013 which states that “every public authority shall publish information in accordance with its publication scheme.” The disclosure was made public in a press statement dated 21st February, 2024.

The release observed that in as much as some institutions have been complying with the said obligation, there are still other institutions which have refused and/or neglected to fulfil their obligations.

Part 1 Preliminary (interpretation section) of the RAI Act 2013 provides a definition of “public authority” as including anybody– (a) established by or under the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991; (b) established by statute; (c) which forms part of any level or branch of Government; (d) owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided by Government; (e) carrying out a statutory or public function; or (f) a body or organisation that receives monies on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone.

The press statement stated that it should be noted that the above definitions of public authority encompass not only Ministries, departments, and Agencies (MDAs), including those established by an Act of Parliament, but also State-owned Enterprises and Private enterprises/companies performing a public function such as undertaking contracts on behalf of the public, or carrying out public service delivery for which they are paid from the consolidated fund, or donor funding.

Public authorities are also reminded that Section 8 (7) states that any person may institute proceedings in a court to compel the head of a public authority to comply with this section.

The public is hereby informed that the RAIC will soon commence a series of popularization and capacity building activities targeting not only MDAs but SOEs and private enterprises/ companies delivering pubic services.

The Commission notes that the voluntary disclosure of information is a win-win for both the public authorities and requesters. Over and above that, timely submission of PDI and ACR Reports to the Commission is critical to transparency and accountability and to help the Commission in determining the trajectory of access to information in Sierra Leone as part of the mandate of the commission is to monitor and report on the compliance by public authorities with their obligations under this Act and also make recommendations for reform both of a general nature and specific public authorities.

“The Commission has spent a considerable length of time engaging Public Authorities on various subjects bordering on building an Open and Transparent Sierra Leone. By complying with freedom of information requests and proactively disclosing information that is supposed to be in the public domain, as well as letting the Commission know the extent of their compliance with the RAI law by completing and submitting their ACR and PDI templates, public authorities would not only be enhancing the smooth and timely supply and demand of public information in the country, but would also be more importantly building public trust in their service delivery”, said Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Chairman and Information Commissioner, Right to Access Information Commission.


Copyright –Published in Expo Times News on Friday, February 23rd, 2024 (ExpoTimes News – Expo Media Group (expomediasl.com)