11 April 2014 On Tuesday, April 8, the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu officially launched a Right to Information (RTI) Policy. The RTI policy was approved in 2013 and commits the Government to release all information to the public, subject to certain exceptions protective of a number of interests such as national security, personal information and privacy, and certain commercial information.
The policy was developed through consultation with a broad range of stakeholders and people across Vanuatu and facilitated by the UNDP (Pacific) through its provision of technical consultancy support. The development of the Policy was spearheaded and guided by the National Media Policy and RTI Committee, chaired by Mr John Ezra from the Office of the Prime Minister, with Media Asosiesen blong Vanuatu (MAV) providing the vice chair and secretariat to the Committee. Members of the Committee come from government, civil society and the media.
On announcing approval of the policy in 2013, Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosis noted: “Approval and implementation of the RTI policy is part of my Government’s commitment to openness and transparency, and follows from the Vanuatu Government’s ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. We want the people of Vanuatu to have access to the information that will help them make better decisions and will help them better understand how the Government is working for the people.”
The policy will be closely followed by an RTI law, which will formalise the policy arrangements to ensure that the Government actively releases information and provides information where it is requested by the public. An appeals process will be established where those requesting information are denied access by Government agencies.
Vanuatu now joins the Kingdom of Tonga in being among the increasing number of Pacific Islands nations actively promoting government accountability and citizen participation through the right to information.
For further information, please direct all enquiries to:
Ministry of Information & Communications
Level 2, O.G Sanft Building
P.O.Box 1380, Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Issued by the : Ministry of Information & Communications