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You are here: HomeThe Ethiopian HeraldNewsAccess to information: A key to good governance

Access to information: A key to good governance

According to the World Bank, Good governance means having public participation, transparency, accountability, response from the government, equality, equity, efficacy and efficiency, principles, law, rules of law and agreement.

The accountability and transparency of government bodies and public participation are the basic principles of good governance. The principle of transparency, which shows government bodies to follow the rules and regulations to make decisions and to make them accountable for their work, is the major pillar of good governance. The other pillar of good governance is public participation. In a democratic system citizens participate on decision making processes and on issues which concerned them. Public participation will be effective if citizens have enough knowledge on issues which they participate on. One of the ways to apply these principles is access to information.

Access to information is making available the information which government bodies hold and the citizens should know. People who have access to information and who understand how to make use of the acquired information in the processes of exercising their legal rights become empowered, which, in turn, enable them to participate effectively in the political, economical and social affairs of the country. As access to information is one of the basic human rights, freedom of the mass media and access to information Proclamation No. 590/2008 declares that government bodies have the duty to make available their information in appropriate way which enables citizens to exercise their right. The basic objective of the proclamation is to empower citizens and promote transparency and accountability in the work of the Government. The proclamation makes the government more accountable to the governed and it is a big step in making the citizens informed about the activities of the Government. As the right to information is a natural corollary of good governance, the enactment of freedom of the mass media and access to information proclamation introduces an open and transparent government and gives every citizen the right to seek and receive information to make administration more responsible and transparent which, in other words, means good governance. So, access to information is an integral part of good governance.

The relationship between having access to information and good governance is that by having the information, one has power. This indicates that providing information is providing power. With access to more information, the participation becomes more active, there are more transparency, accountability and understanding to make a decision appropriately and effectively. Furthermore, enabling access to information also increases cooperation in a positive way between the government and the public. Therefore, access to information is a key to enhance good governance and social accountability.

Freedom of the mass media and access to information proclamation has granted the citizen the right to seek and obtain information from government bodies in a bid to form a democratic system and good governance in the country and encourage people to participate in the process.

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