Exercise your Right to Access Information!

Tunisians are very interested in access to public information, but many are not sure how it works and whether all public institutions already have focal points prepared to respond to requests. Tunisia’s access to information law is considered to be one of the best in the world, rated higher than almost all such laws in Europe. But some Tunisians are impatient with the slow pace of implementing the law that was adopted two years ago.

These were some of the conclusions of three town hall meetings in Sfax, Tozeur and Tunis in March 2018, launched by DRI in support of the Instance d’accès à l’information (INAI)’s outreach activities. Covered extensively by media, in total 450 participants discussed with the nine members of INAI’s governing council.

For the first time in the Tunisian history, an independent body that oversees right to access to information was created. Established in 2017, the INAI’s mission is to guarantee that citizens have access to public information. The law provides for citizens to access information on the mission and work of many public institutions. The Tunisian access to information law was an outcome of a two-year advocacy campaign led by Tunisian CSOs striving to safeguard and reinforce protection of the right set out in the Article 32 of the constitution.

Particularly in the early phases of INAI’s work, it is critical for the body to reach out to and communicate with its citizens. Therefore, in March 2018, DRI launched a series of outreach activities with INAI. The outreach awareness campaign, first of this kind organised for INAI, helped to increase the awareness of citizens, CSOs, media, local authorities and other actors on the role of the Instance in protecting and promoting the right to access information.

Following the success of the campaign, DRI continues its cooperation with the Instance d’accès à l’information and is currently supporting it by producing awareness and visibility materials. Further, DRI seeks to facilitate an exchange of experience and learning between the Tunisian institution and its counterpart in Germany during a study tour to the Federal Access to Information and Data Protection Office in Berlin planned for August.

This series of events was held as part of the project “Implementing the Tunisian Constitution through new legislation to strengthen the rule of law“, funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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