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Freedom of Information in Arab States

Freedom of information legislation has made less progress in Arab States as compared to other parts of the world, but advocacy efforts have been growing in the past years, in diverse countries and at regional level. Important achievements have been made in the past years.

Until recently, only Jordan had passed a FOI law (in 2007), and went on to face the difficult implementation stage. However, important developments have taken place in the region since 2011: A Decree-Law on freedom of information was enacted in 2011 in Tunisia, and the circular regulating its implementation was published on 3 May 2012, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.  In turn, Yemen passed an FOI law in July 2012, receiving high praise from international experts. Moreover, the new Constitution adopted in Morocco in July 2011 includes a provision guaranteeing access to public information (Article 27). An overview of  the status of freedom of information in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia is presented in this paper available in English and Arabic.

UNESCO supports the advance of freedom of information in the region by bringing together key stakeholders to move forward the process towards passing FOI legislation and translating it into practice, facilitating technical assistance in this regard, and contributing to sharing knowledge on the status of FOI laws and international standards. For more information on UNESCO initiatives in Arab States, see the related news section.

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