Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa
At the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights ( Banjul, The Gambia, 2002) African countries adopted a Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa which states that:
i) Public bodies hold information not for themselves but as custodians of the public good and everyone has a right to access this information, subject only to clearly defined rules established by law.
ii) The right to information shall be guaranteed by law in accordance with the following principles:
- everyone has the right to access information held by public bodies;
- everyone has the right to access information held by private bodies which is necessary for the exercise or protection of any right;
- any refusal to disclose information shall be subject to appeal to an independent body and/or the courts;
- public bodies shall be required, even in the absence of a request, actively to publish important information of significant public interest;
- no one shall be subject to any sanction for releasing in good faith information on wrongdoing, or that which would disclose a serious threat to health, safety or the environment save where the imposition of sanctions serves a legitimate interest and is necessary in a democratic society; and
- secrecy laws shall be amended as necessary to comply with freedom of information principles.
iii) Everyone has the right to access and update or otherwise correct their personal information, whether it is held by public or by private bodies.