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ACTION Namibia Coalition welcomes funding allocation for Information Commission

The ACTION Namibia Coalition has welcomed the announcement by the Namibian Government of a
N$19 million allocation to operationalise the Information Commission under the Access to
Information Act 8 of 2022. The Coalition deem this a crucial step towards realising the promise of the country’s Access to Information Act, one that is central to making the right to access to information
a reality for all Namibians. This Act empowers citizens to access information held by public and private entities, fostering transparency, accountability and good governance. As such, an independent and effective Information Commission is central to its successful implementation.

In view of the centrality of this Commission, the ACTION Namibia Coalition calls for a rigorous,
independent, and transparent process in the appointment of the Information Commissioner and
Deputy Commissioners. It is imperative that these positions, which are foundational to the
enforcement of the Act, are filled by individuals who not only possess the requisite expertise and
integrity but also embody the principles of independence and impartiality.
The selection process, as outlined in the Act, places a significant responsibility on the Minister of
Information. We urge the Minister to ensure the following:

  • Diversity and Expertise: The Selection Committee should be composed of individuals with a
    demonstrably strong track record in promoting access to information, legal expertise, and a
    deep understanding of Namibia’s media landscape.
  • Open and Competitive Selection: The nomination process for the non-governmental media
    representative on the Selection Committee should be open and inclusive, allowing all interested
    media organisations to participate.
  • Merit-based Shortlisting: The Selection Committee’s shortlisting and interview process must
    be rigorous and objective, focusing on identifying candidates with the qualifications, experience,
    and temperament to lead the Information Commission effectively.
  • Public Scrutiny and Engagement: The shortlisted candidates should be made public to allow
    for scrutiny and comment by civil society and the media.
  • Increase Transparency and Public Trust: The interviews should be livestreamed and/or
    televised in order to increase transparency and public trust in the selection process.
    The Minister of Information has a critical opportunity to ensure the Information Commissioner is
    chosen based on merit and enjoys the trust of the public. A transparent and inclusive selection
    process is vital to building public confidence in the Information Commission and the Act itself.

The Coalition was centrally involved in the development of the Act since its inception in 2016. We
are unwavering in our commitment to working with the government and all stakeholders to ensure
a successful and transparent appointment process, and ultimately effective implementation of this
crucial law.
We encourage the public to familiarise themselves with the law by accessing the resources on our
website at https://action-namibia.org/toolkit/.

-ACTION Namibia Coalition, Press Release