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Public access to environmental information- legal and practical problems
Ringia, Deogratias William / 1999


In a situation like this, in order to strike a balance between these different stakeholdersthe right to give and release information becomes indispensable. This issue becomes volatileas governments in developing countries, Tanzania being a living example, do enter in agreementto establish projects which have clearly seen negative impacts on the lives of its people withoutthe public being informed. Often this is done under the umbrella of "national interest". Thequestion commonly asked is who is a nation as between government officials and the generalpublic? In Tanzania the right to give and receive information is enshrined in the Constitution ofthe United Republic of Tanzania. This is in conformity, only in spirit, with a number of internationalinstruments to which Tanzania has ratified including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights1and the African charter on Human and Peoples Rights2. This right according to the Tanzanianconstitution is given in its broader sense to include rights to give and receive information onenvironment and natural resource management.3Article 18(1) of the said constitution provides inter-alia "Subject to the laws of the land",every person is entitled to freedom of opinion and expression that is to say, the right to freelyhold and express opinions and seek, receive and impart information and ideas through anymedia and regardless of frontiers, and freedom from interference with his correspondence.Article 18(2) states further that every citizen has a right to be kept informed of developments

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