Study Reveals that a Culture of Secrecy Among Public Officials Hinders Media Work in Tanzania

By MISA Tanzania Correspondent |

A prevailing culture of secrecy among public officials in Tanzania at both central and local government levels is hindering the work of journalists, according to findings by a recent study. This is affecting access to information necessary for media reporting towards increased civic participation, transparency and accountability in governance.

The study which was conducted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Tanzania Chapter in partnership with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) assessed the responsiveness of local government authorities (LGAs) and central government offices in Tanzania to citizens’ information requests.

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Access to Public Information in Uganda: Rhetoric or Reality?

By Loyce Kyogabirwe

Norah Owaraga

Norah Owaraga, a Ugandan researcher, recently narrated her experience on accessing government-held information in the country. She recounted a trip to Tororo district in eastern Uganda where she sought information on Tuberculosis prevalence in prisons. “I was told to go back to the prisons headquarters in Kampala (the capital) to get authorisation yet I had already received clearance from Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) and the President’s Office to access government information. Why did I have to travel back to Kampala when I had all the clearance?” asked Owaraga.

Her question was directed at Frank Baine, the spokesperson of Uganda Prisons, during a dialogue held in Kampala to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information, which falls on September 28.

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