The entry into force comes in line with the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
Rabat – Morocco’s law 13.31 on the public’s right of access to information fully entered into force on Monday.
The development follows a two-year preparatory period that the Ministry of Economy granted to institutions.
Article 27 of Morocco’s constitution stipulates that citizens have the right to access information held by public administrations, elected institutions, and public service bodies, as well as international conventions and charters Morocco has ratified.
The legislation fully comes into effect on the UN’s International Day for Universal Access to Information, September 28. The principle is a human right via the right to freedom of expression, as recognized by United Nations human rights agreements.
Adopting and implementing guarantees of information access is also an explicit target of Sustainable Development Goal 16 regarding good governance, which Morocco has adopted.
Guidelines of Morocco’s new law about the right of access to information concern information management, proactive publication, reception and information request processing, and awareness and support.
The ministry created a website, www.chafafiya.com (“chafafiya” meaning transparency) to facilitate information access. It serves as a platform for information officers to examine and process requests. It also allows for follow-up for those requesting information.
The platform has received a total of 1,585 requests since its launch.
The framework of circular 2/2020, which prescribed the website, also required the creation of an inter-ministerial network on information access to exchange best practices and share experiences.
Per a December 2018 circular relating to their appointment, a total of 1,148 people who operate within ministerial departments and public institutions now serve as appointed “information officers.”
The employees underwent two training sessions, in June and July 2019.
The International Day for Universal Access to Information 2020
UNESCO celebrates the international day this year under the theme of “Saving Lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope.”
This year’s focus is on the right to information in times of crisis and on the advantages of having constitutional guarantees for the public to access information. This aims to save lives, build trust, and help the formulation of sustainable policies through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
The UNESCO General Conference proclaimed the day in 2015 and the full UN General Assembly adopted the observance one year ago, during its 74th session.
“We know what we need to do to bring this about. As these last few months have shown, public health requires transparency – whether this means statistics on the scale of the pandemic, or data on public spending,” stressed the UN official.
Morocco and UNESCO signed an action plan in February 2019 regarding the right of access to information in the country.