How can something so right be so wrong? Right to Information legislation is failing women in Africa

How can something so right be so wrong? Right to Information legislation is failing women in Africa

By Reyhana Masters |

In her contribution to IFEX’s series marking International Women’s Day, Regional Editor Reyhana Masters looks at how women are disadvantaged when it comes to accessing public information.

Access to information is considered essential to the right of freedom of expression in the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. Right to Information (RTI) legislation has been enacted in 25 countries in Africa. It is meant to open doors for equitable access to information for all – irrespective of race, gender, religion, class or ethnicity.

However, the inclusive language contained in this legislation, such as “every individual,” falls short when it comes to societies with entrenched gender discrimination.

In Tanzania, an information officer in a government department denied a journalist her right to access information because “of the way she was dressed,” recalls Juliet Nanfuka, research and communications officer at the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA).

This article was first published by iFEX on March 05, 2020

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