PROMOTING ACCESS TO AFRICAN RESEARCH

Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research

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Ethical Issues and Legal Constraints to the Freedom of Information Act

E Iji, U Neabueze

Abstract


On the 29th of May, 2011 Nigeria joined the civilized and democratic nations of the world to celebrate Freedom of Information. It was then that President Goodluck Jonathan assented to the bill. By this historic  development Nigeria has joined 96 countries of the world with Freedom of Information. Sweden led the way when she passed her own in 1776. This historic development placed Nigeria disappointingly, as the 5th in Africa. Quintessentially, FIOA is needed for good governance,  as it is bound to remove the cloak of bureaucracy associated with access to information that
had made governance secretive. Unfortunately, there are legal constraints that can hinder the smooth operation of the act. Such constraints need to be dismantled immediately. Besides, there is a great need to address various ethical issue that may equally arise among media practitioners in the course of operating within the limits of the law, posing great challenges to the operation of the Act. This paper posits that the responsibility and challenges, that come with FOIA are enormous and should be appropriately addressed. Such adjustment would enable Nigerians reap the dividends
of FOIA among which is to promote good governance and war against  corruption, by enhancing adequate transparency and accountability,  guaranting both efficiency and effectiveness. Nothing else can add more values to both leadership and followership! Such demands are particularly imperative in the Nigeria’s democratic polity and socio-political and  economic space.



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