The Chronicle Gambia

Gambians Support Public Access to Government information, Afrobarometer Survey

By a 2 to 1 margin, Gambians support citizens’ right to access government information, agreeing with a bill that recently gained approval by the National Assembly.

The latest Afrobarometer survey in the Gambia shows widespread popular support for key elements of access to information bill that will allow journalists, civil society organizations, and ordinary citizens to obtain many types of information held by the government. However, the bill still awaits assent by President Adama Barrow.

In the past, many Gambians have expressed little confidence in their ability to obtain information on local and development plans and budgets.

Key findings

The survey reveals that more than six in 10 Gambians, equivalent to (61%) say “the public should have access to government information. And that 31% believe that information held by public authorities is only for use by government officials and should not have to be shared with the public.”

It further indicates that economically well-off citizens (74%), urban residents (69%), and youth (64%) are most likely to insist that the government should have to share information with the public.

The survey also shows that many citizens have expressed little confidence that they could obtain government information.

The Afrobarometer team in The Gambia, led by the Center for Policy, Research, and Strategic Studies (CepRass), interviewed 1,200 adult Gambians between 30 January and 23 February 2021. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. A previous Afrobarometer survey was conducted in the Gambia in 2018.

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