Creating a free and standard platform for making Access to Information in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo does not have a specific access to information law, through there is a Bill process. There is a vast information deficit between those that hold information and the public that may need access to information. The access to Information infrastructure is generally quit weak, with public awareness on the issue low. However there is room to explore both constitutional challenges and sectorial law.
There is also a constitutional guarantee, which supports access, and some sectorial laws that could be utilized as a proxy process for accessing information. Specifically, the Mining Code has potential application.
Centre de Recherche sur l’Anti-Corruption “the CERC” believes that the access to information should be an important part to achieve the democratic governance in all societies. The achievement of democratic governance goals requires that information be widely available. However, in the particular context of the development, there must be special regard for the needs of those who are poor, vulnerable and frequently excluded from mainstream governance processes and institutions as a result of poor access to information and communication support.
Poor and vulnerable groups often lack information that is vital to their lives – information on basic rights and entitlements, public services, health, education, work opportunities, public expenditure budgets, etc. They also lack visibility and voice to enable them to define and influence policy priorities and access resources. Gender is also a critical consideration in access to information.
At the core of this strategy is one major objective – to lever support in a way that maximizes people’s participation, especially the poor, in access to information:
1) Implementation of the rights to freedom of expression and to access information tools are prerequisites for ensuring the voice and participation necessary for a democratic society.
2) Access to information and communication build on these internationally recognized rights and together encompass the core principles of democratic governance: participation, transparency and accountability.
3) It is essential to create and strengthen communication mechanisms that enable poor people to influence national and local government policy and practice.
1) Develop and strengthen capacities and mechanisms that will increase demand for information and enhance communication and engagement in dialogue processes.
2) Develop and strengthen capacities and mechanisms that will enhance the supply (generation, availability, accessibility) of relevant information.
- Implementing Access to Information Programming
CERC can play an important role in developing an online Access to Information Platform “Alaveteli” which is an online platform that enable citizens to request information and automatically publish any responses. This increase the availability of the requested information and encourages transparency.
It will be therefore important for CERC to build awareness within the public service on the importance of the right to information, develop the capacity of government to provide official information on request and strengthen CSOs and their networks, civic education activities on the right to information and build capacities of communities to organize, analyses information and communicate views to policy makers.
CERC can lever its relatively limited resources to enhance the impact of its work in access to information by working in partnership with other development actors. Strengthening and deepening existing partnerships is an organizational priority recognizing that partnerships enable greater sharing of information and learning and provide access to specialist expertise and experience.