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Makuei directs all public offices to set up access to information units

Makuei directs all public offices to set up access to information units
Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan Minister of Information speaking at the training of undersecretaries on Access to Information on September 13, 2022. Credit/Daniel Garang Deng/TRC

The national Minister of Information has directed all government agencies to set up information units in their various offices to promote the right of access to information.

Michael Makuei Lueth said the units will act as mini-archives for documenting and storing relevant information for public consumption.

He was speaking during the training of undersecretaries on the right of access to information.

“You must set up an information units in your institutions and that information units must be well equipped with all the information about the institution – be the classified or unclassified,” Makuei stated.

He encouraged the institutions to recruit qualified individuals who will act as information officers.

“Bring in the information officer who is well-versed, well-informed, organized, so that he can set up the units because that is the mini archives that will be setting up the history,” Makuei underscored.

The Information Minister affirmed that South Sudan has the best media laws in the region, but are not being implemented accordingly.

“The laws give the citizens the right to access information and that’s why we are talking about establishing information desks in all the institutions, so that when a citizens goes there wanting information, it is the information officer who will know what type of information…because there are classified and unclassified.”

He clarified that “classified information is an information that cannot just be passed to anybody and there is unclassified information which you can give at any time.”

Moyiga Nduru, Commissioner of Access to Information Commission said the training of undersecretaries will reinforce the importance of access to information.

“Few weeks ago, we trained the information officers that were drawn from the government institutions. Their role is to train the colleagues to promote the right of access to information and we thought of extending the training to their bosses.”

He added that similar trainings will be given to chairpersons of commissions, directors general and the executive directors in public institutions.

Julius Banda, Country Representative of UNESCO in South Sudan said:

“Access to information is important pillar that enable the free flow of information and advances the promotion and protection of human right and as well as promoting transparency, accountability and achievement of a democratic society.”

Right of access to information states that “Every citizen shall have the right of access to information, including electronic records held by any public or private body subject only to the provisions of the this Act.”