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IPI publishes results of "Accessing Governments" project

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, 13 November 2009 - The governments of Turkey, Yemen and Kenya were the worst at providing information to journalists, according to the results of an International Press Institute pilot project that surveyed reporters' access to information worldwide.

IPI's "Accessing Governments" project investigated the reaction of government and parliament press offices in 12 countries to journalists' requests for information.

The project was made possible by funding from former IPI board member Isma'ila Isa. Mr. Isa is the chief executive of New Africa Holdings Ltd. and publisher of The Democrat newspaper in Nigeria. Major media organisations - including the UK's Guardian, India's The Hindu and Australia's Seven Network - assisted IPI with the research.

The press offices for the heads of government, Justice Ministries and parliaments of Turkey, Yemen and Kenya were unable to provide journalists any information regarding matters such as ministers' salaries and expenses. Other countries where accessing government information is a concern, according to the report, are Argentina and Russia, while both the United States and United Kingdom failed to break into the top half of the 12-country ranking.

"It is unacceptable that a government that is supposed to serve the interests of the people would refuse to provide important information to journalists, whose job it is to be the eyes, ears and voice of the masses," said IPI Deputy Director Alison Bethel. "Denying access to information is in essence a denial of the people's right to know and is a clear violation of human rights.

"We hope that the government bodies we investigated will take note of these results, and reform their systems where appropriate. Journalists must not be denied their fundamental right to information.

Read the full report of IPI's "Accessing Governments" project
IPI_Accessing_Governments_FINAL.pdf (389 KB)

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