At the time of the writing of this report, Namibia had a working
document, which is expected to transform into an Access
to Information Bill before the end of 2016. This is a major
achievement for the Access to Information in Namibia (ACTION)
Coalition, which has campaigned for such a law since early 2013.
Not only did the Ministry of Information and Communication
Technology (MICT) finally deliver on its promise to develop
such a law, but they also consulted with civil servants, media
houses and civil society on the working document as well as on
the revision of their Information Policy. The Ministry has to be
applauded for consulting with stakeholders from the onset, and
not waiting for the Bill to be tabled in Parliament first.
Namibia is efficient at policy development and establishing
a framework to operate within, but we have a long way to go
with regards to effective implementation. Hence the need for
these collaborative efforts to continue into the implementation
phase. Civil society, the private sector and the media require
Government’s cooperation to ensure that every citizen has an
understanding of the rights, freedoms and responsibilities that
come with accessing information. There is no point in having a
good law that is not implemented, without holding stakeholders
accountable when they don’t reach implementation targets.
With regards to the media and access to information, journalists
continue to lament the difficulty in accessing information from
most public institutions which leads to a delay in the provision
of information that is in the public’s interest. Furthermore, the
lack of quotable information from official government sources,
especially related to corruption and poor service delivery, results
in journalists having to rely on anonymous sources.
We are still awaiting a whistleblowers protection law, which
can go a long way in the eradication of corruption, because it
means those who are brave enough to disclose corrupt elements
within the public service will be protected from prosecution or
victimisation. The Anti-Corruption Commission was the frontrunner in the call for such a law, but it has been silent on the
issue for the past year.
The ACTION Coalition will have to accept the responsibility of
lobbying for the development of such a law, because transparency
and good governance cannot exist without protecting those
who risk their jobs to expose corruption.
There have also been no new developments with regards to the
Electronic Transactions and Cybercrime Bill, which is probably
for the best because there were a number of concerns raised on
the first draft. It is important for stakeholders to be consulted
on the second draft and we are committed to ensuring that
the public’s right to ATI and privacy, as well as their freedom of
expression, is upheld.
Namibia must honour its obligations under the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the African
Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the SADC Protocol
on Culture, Information and Sport. ATI has been positioned as a

critical ingredient in the attainment of the objectives of both the
global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Namibian
government’s Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP). Regarding
access to public information, the HPP commits to ensuring that
citizens have access to relevant government information, and
for the MICT to develop a plan for aligning the functions of the
Public Relations and Liaison Officers to their core functions of
information dissemination. In addition, permissible access to
information by the public must also be included in the plan.
An ATI dispensation will lead to the establishment of a law and
policy landscape that exemplifies the principled spirit of respect
for human rights and freedoms as articulated in the Constitution
of the Republic of Namibia.

Rationale and ReseaRch
Access to information is an essential human right that supports
all other rights. Research on the Most Open and Secretive Public
Institutions in Namibia shows that there is a lack of transparency
within public bodies, and adds weight to the call for ATI
legislation. The research was conducted from 2 August to 30
August. Institutions were given 21 days to respond to requests.
In Namibia, eight institutions were studied. The research included
the study of their responses to requests for information, and
evaluated websites and social media platforms such as Facebook
and Twitter.
The objective of the study was to measure the openness as well
as difficulties faced by public institutions in providing information
to the public. The study looked at whether the sampled offices
made available the information without questioning the
intentions of those requesting it. The results of the study will
continue to inform our work in relation to access to information.
The following public institutions were surveyed:
1. National Council of Namibia (NC)
2. Ministry of Youth, National Service and Sport (MSYNS)
3. Ministry of Industrial Trade and SME Development (MTI)
4. Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO)
5. Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare (MPESW)
6. Ministry of Finance (MoF)
7. Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)
8. Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)

Select target paragraph3