In 2007, Jordan became the first Arabic-speaking country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to issue a law governing the right of access to information. In the years since, it has been joined by Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon, Morocco, and Sudan.
An often-overlooked pillar of a functioning democratic society, access to information is at the heart of transparency, accountability, and equity. In a new four-part series, our authors unpack the importance of this right in the MENA region, focusing on Jordan, Tunisia, and Lebanon, and speaking to stakeholders on prospects for reform.
- An introductory piece explains the right of access to information, its impact on society, and its significance for the MENA region.
- A second piece on Jordan explores how vague language in the legal text, bureaucracy, and insufficient awareness among government officials have severely slowed implementation of the right of access to information.
- Though Tunisia’s access to information law is hailed as one of the most progressive in the world, its introduction has not been accompanied by a change in culture, leaving question marks on its efficacy, as a third piece explores.
- In a country reeling from the explosion at its main port, a crippling economic crisis, and endemic corruption, access to information has the potential to be a gamechanger. Our final piece delves into Lebanon and the role that an access to information law has played there.