Tuesday, 24 February 2009 10:19 AM

Freedom of Information Vital: DPM Hon Fono

"Freedom of Information has been identified as an important indicator under the Good Governance Pillar," said Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Fred Fono while giving his official key note in the opening of the Solomon Islands Freedom of Information Workshop.

Mr. Fono said that the workshop was timely in that it was in line with "the CNURA government's commitment to promoting more participatory development and a transparent and accountable governance system."

"I am very pleased that the ombudsman of Solomon Islands has taken the initiative to organize this workshop, to explore the appropriateness of implementing freedom of information in SI," said the Deputy Prime Minister.

"As a democratic and free country, one of the central tenets of our democracy in Solomon Islands is the guarantee of human rights, one of which the right to freedom of information."

Mr. Fono said that the right to information could play a vital role in bringing governments closer to their people. "With information people can start to effectively engage with their government...building a stable and peaceful democracy," said Mr. Fono.

Mr. Fono also took time to acknowledge the presence of media groups, saying that, "with more reliable sources of information, our media can responsibly and accurately report on government activities- and n doing so, can keep the public updated on what is being done and why."

"Without an effective media an information vacuum occurs in which rumors, whispers and false stories are spread that could create undue anxiety and instability in our countries," Mr. Fono reminded participants.

Solomon Times understand that the 'Solomon Islands Freedom of Information Workshop' is a three day workshop organized by the Ombudsman Office and funded by the UNDP.