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Social accountability and access to information: Lessons for Africa from South Africa and Zimbabwe


Sipondo, Abongile A. (2014) Social accountability and access to information: Lessons for Africa from South Africa and Zimbabwe. In: UUM International Conference on Governance 2014 (ICG), 29th - 30th November 2014, Flamingo Hotel By The Beach, Pulau Pinang.

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Abstract

The importance of access to information as an underpinning of democratic participation is a widely acknowledged fundamental democratic principle.For citizens to have a meaningful participation holding governments into account, they require information.Political participation rights cannot be exercised effectively without access to government information, and lack of transparency in governance hobbles the citizen’s ability to participate meaningfully.The conventional wisdom about the power of transparency is straightforward: transparency generates accountability.However, does the availability of information automatically lead to greater transparency and therefore accountability? This paper will argue that the availability of access to information laws, though important, is not a panacea to all accountability challenges. Enabling laws and policies are useful but not sufficient to support social accountability, especially in contexts where the rule of law is lacking.For access to information to be effective, there must be an enabling framework that encourages meaningful participation.To back the argument, the paper will compare two jurisdictions that have access to information laws and show that the availability of such laws have not necessarily led to greater transparency and therefore accountability.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: ISBN NO: 978-983-2078-95-1 Organizers: Institute for Governance and Innovation Studies (IGIS), College of Law, Government and International Studies (UUM COLGIS) and University of Muhammadiyah Malang, Indonesia
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: College of Law, Government and International Studies
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2015 08:18
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2015 08:18
URI: http://repo.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/13144

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