VELMA LawVelma Law, Dar es Salaam Tanzanian Law Firm 310 310
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The Access to Information Bill 2015 was presented to Parliament in February 2015 and awaits final approval (as at 2 June 2015).
The stated objects and reasons include to enhance access to information and promote transparency and accountability of public authorities and private bodies that are in possession of information which is of significant public interest.
Recognising that access to information is a right bestowed on the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Bill intends to promote proactive publication, dissemination and access to information by the public in furtherance of that right.
The Act will apply in Mainland Tanzania (and not in Zanzibar) to public authorities at any level of Government, and any private entities, which have information of “significant public interest” due to its relevance to exposure of corruption, illegal actions, public health and safety, protection of human rights or environment.
Every Tanzanian citizen shall have the right to such information unless disclosure will undermine national security, impede due process of law, endanger life, undermine lawful investigations by law enforcement agencies, facilitate and offence (and other detailed listed reasons).
Information shall be presumed to not be exempt if it has been held for more than 30 years.
Any unauthorized disclosure is an offence with imprisonment of not less than 15 years, subject to protection provisions for persons who make certain types of disclosure.
Information holders must give to the public details of general description of information held.
The Bill sets out detailed procedures for access to information.