Angola FOI Law Found Wanting in AFIC Analysis

4 December 2013

The Angola freedom of information  law “bears numerous critical deficiencies relative to regional standards,” according to a detailed analysis by the Africa Freedom of Information Centre.

“In general, the Angola Law appears to provide only the most limited expression of the right to information,” the report concludes. “In its relatively few pages, it fails sufficiently to articulate these rights, establish governmental duties, or provide for necessary supporting procedures.”

The 13-page assessment includes 14 recommendations.

The reports finds numerous faults with the 2002 law. Among other things, it “fails to include government-influenced private bodies within its scope, and otherwise does not set out a clearly defined scope.”

The information request process is unclear, the report says. “Rather it appears to establish limited public duties in relation to requests, and its procedures appear liable to frustrate requestors, especially those without the means or endurance to overcome these barriers.”

“Furthermore, the Law sets out thinly worded but potentially sweeping limitations, including security-related restrictions, broadly inconsistent with regional standards,” according to AFIC.

The law has “a weak requirement for ongoing publication of public information.”

In addition, it “appears to provide neither recognition nor protection to whistleblowers.”

“Lastly, the Law offers no substantive rights to appeal or a process for appeal.”

The evaluation is based on standards are set out in the African Platform on Access to Information (“APAI”), the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa (“Declaration”), and the Draft Model Law for AU Member States on Access to Information (“Model Law”).

Compared with other 95 other countries with FOI regimes, Angola ranks 60th, according to a rating of the legal mechanisms done by Access Info and the Centre for Democracy and law.

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