Right of Access to Public Information and to Administrative Documents (BF0010)
Action Plan: Burkina Faso Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Ministry of communication and Relations with Parliament (MCRP)
Support Institution(s): Ministry of Communication and Relations with Parliament (MCRP) ; Higher communication regulatory body (Conseil supérieur de la communication) (CSC), Ministry of National defense and Ex-servicemen (MDNAC), Ministry of Security, Media Watchdog of Burkina Faso (ObservatoireBurkinabè des medias) (OBM), Association of Burkina Faso Journalists (Association des Journalistes du Burkina) (AJB) ; National Union of Information and Culture workers (Syndicat national des Travailleurs de l’Information et de la culture) (SYNATIC). African network of Journalists for integrity and transparency(Réseau africain des journalistes pour l’intégrité et la transparence) (RAJIT) PrivatePublishers Association (Société des Editeurs Privés) SEP National Union of Free Audiovisual (Union nationale de l’Audiovisuel Libre du Faso(UNALFA) UBSTV, Reporter du Faso (Correspondent of Faso)
Policy AreasAccess to Information, Legislation & Regulation, Legislative, Right to Information
What is the public issue for which the commitment is made to address?: Inadequate appropriation from actors and lack of enforcement regulations of law 051-2015/CNT of August 30, 2015 on the access to the right to public information and to administrative documents; What is the commitment?: Issues : Effectiveness of the right to information established by the constitution ; Contribution to transparency and liability. Overall objective : Ensure the right to the access to public information and administrative documents for all citizens. Results : Three (03) decrees and (02) orders are passed to enforce the application of law on the right to the access to information and administrative documents of August 30, 2015. Obstacles on the right to the Access to information are removed ; Law 051-2015/CNT of August 30 , 2015 is known by actors; How this commitment will contribute towards addressing the public issue?: Enforcement of law 051-2015/CNT of August 30, on the right to the access to public information and administrative documents will be done through the passing of enforcement laws. The success of the effectiveness of this law requires a wide dissemination and an information campaign as well as awareness raising by civil society organizations, medias, public administration so as to make easier for people to join. : Steps Adoption of enforcement texts of law ; Setting up of the National Authority for Access to Public information( Mise en place de l’AutoritéNationaled’Accès à l’InformationPublique) (ANAIP) ; Dissemination of law 051-2015/CNT dated August 30, 2015.; Why is this commitment relevant as regards PGO values?: The right to the Access to Public information and administrative documents meets the criteria of : Transparency : the action of public administration is known by the public ; The enforcement of the law improves access to public information. Civic participation : Improves citizen capacities to have an influence on decisions , Improve citizens commitment in the implementation of policies, projects and programs Liability : Improves the culture of making a report because the civil service will be obliged to give information and documents in its possession; Additional details: Links : The Constitution in its article 8 ensures the right to information to all citizens of Burkina Faso. The National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) in its main line 1 «Retrain institutions and modernize Civil service » which one of its strategic objectives is to improve the right to the access to information by population. National Communication Policy (PNCOM) which strategic objective 1 is directed to the access to information by populations.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
10. Enforce law n°051-2015/CNT of August 30, 2015 on the right of access to public information and to administrative documents
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:
“Enforce law n°051-2015/CNT of August 30, 2015 on the right of access to public information and to administrative documents”
Issues: Effectiveness of the right to information established by the constitution; Contribution to transparency and liability.
Overall objective: Ensure the right to the access to public information and administrative documents for all citizens.
Results: three (03) decrees and (02) orders are passed to enforce the application of law on the right to the access to information and administrative documents of August 30, 2015; obstacles on the right to the Access to information are removed ; law 051-2015/CNT of August 30 , 2015 is known by actors.
Pass the decree on the establishment of constitutive and organizing methods for the protection of information given and filed «very secrete defense»
Take the joint Order Defense/Security on the establishment of constitutive and organizing methods for the protection of information given and filed « secrete defense»
Pass the Decree creating, organizing assigning and on the functioning of the National Authority for access to public information (ANAIP)
Pass Decree appointing ANAIP office members
Disseminate law 051-2015/CNT of August 30, 2015 through administration and medias
Start Date: November 2017 End Date: June 2019
Action Plan is available here
Context and Objectives
This commitment addresses the lack of implementation of Law No. 051-2015 of 30 August 2015 governing the right of access to public information and administrative documents. The law, adopted by representatives of the National Council for Transition, describes the implementation mechanisms, modalities for accessing information, the administration’s responsibilities, accessible and non-accessible information, as well as the criteria for classifying and declassifying information. 
The law foresees creating a new government agency, the National Authority for Access to Public Information (ANAIP), to manage and oversee information,  ensure access to information for citizens, and facilitate interactions between government officials and constituents.  The law highlights cases in which citizens lack access to certain information. For instance, government agencies are forbidden from releasing documents that are incomplete, being validated or processed.  The government restricts access to information related to national security, defense, foreign policy,  industrial property, and author rights.  Article 36 of the law establishes the security levels for classified documents and the timeframes for releasing information: very secret defense (after 50 years), secret defense (after 40 years), and confidential release (after 30 years). 
While the law was adopted in 2015, the government has not yet implemented it. According to a Program Manager of the Media Foundation for West Africa, CSOs and the media denounce the absence of an implementation decree for Law No. 051, plus the lack of government action; this prevents their access to information and therefore, their ability to influence policy-making.  As the government is not empowered without an implementation decree, the ANAIP has not been constituted either.  A government source claims that one of the main challenges in implementing the law is the need for greater coordination and collaboration between relevant actors, including ministerial departments. 
Moreover, the decision of the High Council on Communication to block the newspaper, L’Evénement, from publishing “information on military secrets”  reveals a potential controversy over balancing the need for information and the need for secrecy and security.
In this context, the commitment seeks to guarantee that citizens have access to public information and administrative documents. The commitment’s activities aim at enforcing supplementary legislation to allow for Law 051’s full entry into force, including the establishment of the ANAIP. Some activities support setting up a legal framework for managing confidential and sensitive information, as well as promoting the law through media. This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information as its main goal seeks to implement a law on access to public information and administrative documentation for citizens.
As written in the action plan, some of the objectives, results, and activities are specific enough to be objectively verified. Activity verifiability can be evaluated for instance, by assessing whether the implementation decrees of Law No. 051 are enacted.
However, it remains unclear how this commitment will ensure that obstacles to access information are overcome, as the commitment does not provide specific metrics to track progress or completion.
If implemented as written, the commitment will contribute to solving the problem. The commitment would lead to a major step forward in accessing information. Implementing the law would give the ANAIP authority on matters related to access to public information in the country. The ANAIP would report to the President of Burkina Faso and the National Assembly on the status of the access of public information in the country.  That alone would be a significant improvement. Yet, due to weaknesses in the commitment’s design, it may be limited in scope and scale. Therefore, the potential impact of this commitment is graded as moderate.
While one of the expected results is to overcome the obstacles of access to information, the commitment does not explicitly reference how the ANAIP will address these obstacles, nor what these obstacles are. Therefore, it is unclear whether the commitment will effectively address the barriers to information.
The action plan cites insufficient funding from key actors as one of the problems limiting public access to information. However, the commitment does not say how it will encourage government agencies’ appropriation of, involvement in, or compliance with access to information legislation. The commitment assumes barriers to information and lack of involvement will be solved through the ANAIP, although specific actions are not explicitly mentioned.
- This commitment could be continued in terms of enforcing the ANAIP, encouraging active involvement from stakeholders, and ensuring that key actions will be taken to limit potential conflicts between the need for access to information and the need for confidentiality.
- Explicitly mention what the barriers to information are as well as the specific actions to address those barriers.
- Support the development of socialization and communication campaigns to effectively ensure that citizens are aware of the law. Special attention could be given to the mechanisms through which citizens may request for information as provided by the law.
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