Public Awareness Regarding the Right to Access Information in the Light of its Limitation by way of Public Interest in Tanzania.h

Godwin Stephano
Research Scholar, School of Legal Studies and Research, APG Shimla University, Himachal Pradesh, India

Volume II – Issue I, 2020

In September 2016, Parliament of United Republic of Tanzania passed an Access to Information Act, 2016 (ATI Act) into law to give effect to the constitutional right of access to information. With the coming into force of the ATI Act, every citizen now has a legal right of access to information, records and documents held by government bodies and private bodies carrying out public functions. However, access to information, like most other rights, is not an absolute right and it can be restricted in variety of instances such as for the purposes of protection of public interest.  This paper therefore set out to examine level of public awareness and the perceptions regarding right of access to information in Tanzania. The study employed the quantitative survey design. The survey sought information on public knowledge or awareness of the ATI Act and knowledge or perception citizens have regarding the term public interest as a ground of limiting access to information.  Findings revealed that there is a low level of awareness within the populace about the ATI Act and benefits it can bring and how they can take advantage of it. The study also revealed that citizens particularly information holders are not much aware about the meaning of the term public interest as a ground of limiting access to information in Tanzania. The study, therefore, recommends that public awareness and enlightenment about the ATI Act and its limitation by way of public interest should be increased in order to make the ATI Act more effective in Tanzania.

Keywords:  ATI Act; Limitation to Access; Public Awareness; Public Interest..


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