In conversation with Fatou Jagne Senghore
On 4 May 2023, the Expression, Information & Digital Rights (EIDR) Unit conducted a spotlight interview on the Africa Rights Talk Podcast featuring Ms Fatou Jagne Senghore. The conversation is part of the Centre for Human Rights’ commemoration of the 10 Years of the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa. This podcast episode was moderated by the EIDR clinic students from the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme.
Ms Jagne introduced the current regional framework that provides normative guidance on the exercise of the right of access to information in Africa. She stated that the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa, the 2019 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa are of great value to African States and emphasised the adoption and implementation of standards encapsulated in these instruments. Ms Jagne further addressed some of the challenges such as bureaucracies, resource constraints, existing laws on secrecy, and technological constraints that hinder access to information in Africa. However, she indicated that there are some notable positive steps towards implementing access to information frameworks at national level. For instance, she noted that The Gambia recently enacted the Access to Information Act, 2021 and anticipates utilising institutional mechanisms to implement the Act. In her conclusion, she underscored the importance of the media and civil society and implored these stakeholders to continue promoting the right to access information.
Fatou Jagne Senghore is a Gambian human rights advocate with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She founded Article 19 West Africa office in Senegal in 2010 after joining the organisation in 2002 as an Africa Programme Officer. She holds an LLM in Economic and Communication Law, a Master’s degree in International and European Law, and a Bachelor of Law (Civil Law) from the University of Toulouse. She also holds a Bachelor of English Language / Specialty Law and a degree in international relations and development studies. She led Article 19’s work with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on access to information and Freedom of Expression, including the establishment of the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa in 2004 and the development of normative standards. She has received many distinctions for her human rights work. These include the French National Order of Merit (Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite) in 2018, the Shield Award for West Africa by the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network in 2019, the Press Freedom Hero Award by the Gambia Press Union in 2020, the Deyda Hydara Award in 2021 and Legacy in Activism Award by SheAwards Gambia in 2023. She was included in the Avance Media’ Inaugural List of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2019. She recently founded Center for Women’s Rights and Leadership (CWRL), a platform to advance women’s rights, political participation, and leadership in the Gambia. She is part of the 2023 Amujae Leader Cohort at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development.
This conversation was recorded on 4 May 2023.
Music and news extracts: Inner Peace by Mike Chino https://soundcloud.com/mike-chinoCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/0nI6qJeqFcc limitless https://stock.adobe.com/za/search/audio?k=452592386