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Michael Makuei Lueth, the national minister for information

Government moves to ease public access to information

The transitional unity government is set to establish information desks in all the institutions and ministries to ease public access to information.

 Michael Makuei Lueth, the National Minister for Information told journalists during the opening of the training for government officials on access to information at Palm Africa Hotel in Juba.

“Access to information gives the citizens the right to access information in any office and this is why we are talking of establishing information desks in all institutions and ministries so that when a citizen goes there and he wants information it is information officers who will know what type of information is there,” Makuei said.

“Once you have established information desk, you will be free, you need to equip information officers at your end with the information so that they are ready to give an answer to any question any time,” he added.

 Makuei advised civil servants to keep proper documentation for future reference, noting that it is important that institutions make proper use of documents and keep them properly.

 “There is no access to information, people are being harassed meanwhile all these are addressed in our media laws, what we are lacking only is the proper implementation of these laws,” he said.

Moyiga Anduru, the Commissioner for Information Commission, said that they are offering series of trainings to ease access to information.

Anduru said they plan to extend the training to include, chairpersons of commissions, undersecretaries, director generals, and executive directors of various government ministries and institutions.

 “We felt that without them knowing the mandate and function of information commission, it will limit and affect the performance of the information officers under them,” he said.

Julius Banda, the Country Representative for UNESCO, said that free flow of information is essential for achieving a democratic society.

“We always say freedom of expression and free flow of information is key driver for the achievement of all sustainable development goals, accessing information and free flow of ideas,” Banda said.

The training on access to information was organized by the national ministry of information and the information commission with support from the UN Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Civil Affairs Division.

South Sudan is currently ranked among the worst countries with limited public access to information by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Transparency y International.

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