President gives support to ‘Access to Information’ law initi

We began to adopt and develop due networks, structures, expertise back in 1978/9 for the past 36 years our contributions to Seychelles building, regional Indian Ocean Nations workings, empowering - contribution to working and building democracy. Our community have been at the fore front of alternative economic, cross culture nation working with the former COMECON, Russia the role we have played and input - lending to the BRICS world alternative economic, social and cross culture workings.

Nous avons commencé à adopter et développer des réseaux en raison , structures, expertise de retour en 1978/9 pour les 36 dernières années, nos contributions au renforcement des Seychelles , le fonctionnement régional océan Indien Nations , l'autonomisation - contribution au travail et renforcement de la démocratie . Notre communauté a été à l'avant-garde de solution de rechange économique , croix nation de culture de travail avec l'ancien COMECON , Russie le rôle que nous avons joué et entrée - prêts au monde BRICS autres travaux de culture économiques, sociaux et croisées .

President gives support to ‘Access to Information’ law initi

Postby Grandlarousse » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:00 am

President gives support to ‘Access to Information’ law initiative


It is expected that Seychelles will soon start discussions on the need to have an ‘Access to Information’ Law now that President James Michel has expressed support for the initiative.

This came out following an advocacy visit the African Union (AU) special rapporteur for freedom of expression and access to information in Africa, Advocate Faith Pansy Tlakula, paid on President Michel at State House yesterday.

“I am here on a mission to encourage State party to the African Charter to adopt this law,” Advocate Tlakula said after her talks with President Michel.

She expressed the fact that she is greatly encouraged that President Michel is supportive of the initiative to start talks on the need to have an Access to Information Law.

“The meeting was very fruitful because we got a commitment from the President himself that discussions on this very important topic led by the Seychelles Media Commission would begin soon,” she stated.

A communiqué from State House said : “The President welcomes the visit of the rapporteur and her team, and expressed support for their plans to hold further consultations in Seychelles for the development of an access to information law based on an African Union model law.

“We are building a strong and functioning democracy. It is important to improve our institutions and ensure transparency and accountability. It is the way forward for the whole continent of Africa to espouse the ideals of freedom of expression and access to information,” said President Michel, who also holds the portfolio for Information.

At the moment only 15 of the 54 AU countries have access to information laws, Advocate Tlakula noted.

Asked what she knows about the situation of freedom of expression and access to information here Advocate Tlakula pointed out that Seychelles is one of the few countries on the African continent which has entrenched the right to information in its Constitution.

She noted that now Seychelles need to translate these provisions into reality by adopting a law which will make them effective.

She also pointed out that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam has informed her that Seychelles is in the process of repealing the laws relating to criminal defamation and libel as well as of the ongoing constitutional reform process to repeal all laws which are in violation of the Constitution.

“This also shows the country’s commitment to ensuring that freedom of expression and access to information are respected because in most countries there still are criminal defamation laws , insult laws, publication of false news laws which are not just in the statute books but are in use,” she said.

She pointed out that as a result journalists are being prosecuted and sent to prison for expressing their opinions through their writing which is not the case in Seychelles.

Commenting on her discussion on the issue with the speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Herminie, Advocate Tlakula expressed satisfaction of the level on commitment shown.

“There is commitment there as well and he stressed on the importance for the country to have an access to information law but we have to be specific and stressed that it is the people of Seychelles who must own the process of developing an access to information law. This cannot come from outside; it must be agreed upon by the people of Seychelles and must be driven by them so that the end product which comes out of the process is owned by the people,” she said.

During her visit here Advocate Tlakula also met the Minister for Foreign Affairs and also had talks with representatives of the civil society organisations, the Seychelles Media Commission, among other key stakeholders.

“It is important because the blood of a democracy lies in civil society organisations,” Advocate Tlakula said.

She said throughout all her discussions various issues have been agreed upon and these include having a training workshop to discuss what access to information entails, a training for journalists on topics like parliamentary reporting, reporting on election and court cases among others.

Also present during her meeting with Dr Herminie was the chairperson of the Seychelles Media Commission, Ibrahim Afif. They discussed the importance of establishing access to information laws which would help to enhance transparency and good governance.

Advocate Tlakula also met the National Assembly’s Scrutiny of Bills Committee.
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