Freedom of Information

This Freedom of Information Bill, 2019 will repeal the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27]. The Bill will give effect to section 62
of the Constitution which enshrines in the Declaration of Rights the right of access to
In brief, the Bill sets out—
• the procedure for access to information held by public institutions by the citizenry
and permanent residents;
• the procedure for accessing by any person of information held by any person
where the information is necessary for the exercise or protection of a right;
• considerations for the making available on a voluntary basis by entities, certain
categories of information thereby obviating the need for formal requests for such
• the scope of limitations on the right of access to information which are conceived,
in some cases, as mandatory and in others as discretionary, protections against
disclosure of information;
• the rights of third parties with respect to any information whose disclosure has
been requested;
• the role of principle officers of entities and information officers in the
implementation of the right to access information;
• the procedures for internal appeals and court appeals against decisions made by
information officers or principle officers of entities with respect to requests for
access to information;
• the time limits within which processes must be carried out; and
• the additional functions of the Human Rights Commission with respect to the
right of access to information, which are to be exercised in the normal course of
its role as the guardian of human rights.
In more detail, the Bill provides as follows—
This Part deals with preliminary matters.
Clause 1 sets out the short title of the Bill which takes its title from the specific
constitutional terminology, in line with global trends, with respect to the right.
Clause 2 defines terms used in the Bill and significant are the following terms
around which the Bill is structured, viz a viz “principle officer” being the person at
the helm of any entity; “information” which is cast very widely; “information officer
and “responsible person” who is the principle officer of a public or public commercial
Clause 3 states the objects of the Act as being essentially to give effect to the
exercise of the right of access to information.
Part II of the Bill which deals with providing access to information, creates in
clause 4, a duty on entities to maintain the information of entities in a manner that
facilitates the exercise of the right to access information. The entities are compelled to

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