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Photo Gallery: African Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information

Feb. 7-9, 2010
Accra, Ghana

Participants of the African Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information
Photo credit: The Carter Center

Participants gathered with President and Mrs. Carter for the conference group photo. The 130 participants hailed from 20 countries throughout Africa, and represented various sectors, including government, civil society, regional and international organizations, international financial institutions, donor foundations, academia, media, and the private sector.

President Carter greets Samuel O. Ablakwa.President Carter greets Samuel O. Ablakwa, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Information for the opening of the conference.

Sanjay PradhanSanjay Pradhan, Vice-President of the World Bank Institute spoke at the opening panel on the importance of transparency and access to information for promoting development in Africa.

Moustapha GuirrasySenegal's Minister of Communications and Government Spokesperson Moustapha Guirrasy provided his perspectives on the panel "If Transparency Matters, Why is Africa Lagging behind."  He shared his country's commitment to the right of access to information but also described a number of the challenges.

Panelists Kemal, Masiko, and TlakulaEthiopia's Deputy Minister of Information Shemelis Kemal (right) and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Faith Pansy Tlakula (left) listen on as Uganda's Minister of Information and National Guidance Kabakumba L. Masiko (center) poses a question to the panelists on the first day of the conference.

Charlayne Hunter-GaultCharlayne Hunter-Gault, former CNN Bureau Chief, Johannesburg and renowned civil rights activist in the United States gave the keynote address at the conference gala dinner.  Ms. Hunter-Gault spoke of the role that information played in allowing her to win the seminal U.S. court case that led to integration of the University of Georgia and her continuing quest for information as a journalist and human rights advocate.

Amadour Mahtar BaAmadour Mahtar Ba, Executive Director of the Africa Media Initiative speaks during the Media Dialogue: the Right of Access to Information in Africa.  Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the Media Foundation of West Africa joined him in leading this important session.

Colleagues from Senegal discuss country action planColleagues from Senegal meet to discuss how a country action plan and ideas for advancing the African Findings and Plan of Action when they return home.

Bettty Mould Iddrisu and Laura NeumanChair of this session Minister Bettty Mould Iddrisu, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ghana (left) and Laura Neuman, manager of the Global Access to Information Initiative and associate director of the Americas Program (right) receive report backs from the country working groups on the conference's final day.

Faith Pansy Tlakula, Kwame Kariki, and Mukelani DimbaThe concluding plenary was led by conference collaborators Faith Pansy Tlakula , Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (left), Kwame Kariki, Executive Director of the Media Foundation of West Africa (center) and Mukelani Dimba, Deputy CEO of the Open Democracy Advice Centre (right). The panel led a robust discussion on next steps and provided closing remarks.

Shamiso Mtisi shares the status of the right to information in Zimbabwe with panelists.Shamiso Mtisi, Zimbabwean Environmental Law Association (standing) shares the status of the right to information in Zimbabwe and the need to reform the repressive law. Listening carefully to the country presentations are Zambia's Minister of Information Ronnie Shikapwasha (front left), Mozambique's Minister of Public Works Vitoria Dias Diaogo (front center), Liberia's Minister of State for development and Reconstruction Natty B. Davis, (front center), and Democratic Republic of the Congo's Minister of Communications and Media Lambert Mende Omalanga (front right).

Honorable Vinicius Hodges challenges GhanaDuring the country group report backs Chairman of the Liberia House Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism Honorable Vinicius Hodges challenges Ghana proclaiming that Liberia would be the first country in West Africa to pass a comprehensive access to information law. (Note: Liberia passed the Freedom of Information act into law on September 16, 2010 while Ghana continues to work towards establishing a right to information).

Ibrahim Ben-Kargbo and Laura NeumanSierra Leone's Minister of Information Ibrahim Ben-Kargbo (left) opens the second day of the conference with Carter Center Global Access to Information Initiative Associate Director Laura Neuman (right) by his side. In addition to sharing his country's advances, Minister Ben-Kargbo charged the conference participants with working in multi-stakeholder groups to explore the challenges facing the right to information in Africa and identify potential solutions and concrete actions steps.

All Photos: The Carter Center

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