9 November, 2011.
The Government of Tonga is pleased to announce its latest initiative in fulfilling its commitment to the fundamental aim of boosting transparency and accountability in Government, by introducing a policy for Freedom of Information.
At the outset of October 2011, the Ministry of Information and Communications has been approved the task to implement the project of drafting an FOI policy which will provide an official Information framework and disclosure policy within which to manage Government information in Tonga.
The policy also addresses serious questions in terms of the supply, demand and distribution of information.
It will also incorporate Government's approach to other vital components such as archives, record management, privacy, ICT, and health records funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat and supported by the UNDP, the Ministry has engaged consultant, Associate Professor Rick Snell from the University of Tasmania, to work on the project.
Mr Snell, who was the recipient of the 2009 Award for Lexis Nexis Australasian Law Teachers Association Law Teacher of the Year, is one of Australia's leading law teachers and an international authority on Freedom of Information law.His Majesty's Cabinet has approved a Steering Committee to monitor the process, and has gained a strong level of support from the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano.
For the duration of the project, the Ministry will coordinate a wide series of stakeholders' consultation with not only members of the Public Service but the non-government organizations, the media and civil societies.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.