There is no specific law on the freedom of information that obliges public bodies to disseminate information or reply to requests for information. Some civil society initiatives have pressed the government to legislate on this issue, but very little progress was made in 2012.
The Constitution of Cameroon and specific laws for some sectors, such as the framework law on the environment, include provisions on the right to information, although a study carried out in 2010 by the Citizens Governance Initiative (Initiatives de Gouvernance Citoyenne) revealed that these provisions are not fulfilled in practice and many civil servants and the public are not well informed (1). A culture of secrecy and confidentiality at the level of State structures has prevented the dissemination of public information. However, there has been some improvement following the opening by the government of community telecommunication centres in some rural areas, although access to information is still restricted for many citizens, and certain telecom centres recently set up are not functional yet.
Regarding the forestry sector, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Cameroon and the European Union ratified in 2011 includes an Appendix specifying the information that should be published, together with the channels and methods to be used for dissemination. It also requires the authorities to make all the information available in the event of a request by another stakeholder. This provides a sector specific framework to improve transparency and the access to public information, but the agreement still has to be effectively implemented.
(1) Initiatives of Governance Citoyenne (2010) Right of access to information and administrative transparency in Cameroon: Scope and limits of the legislative and institutional framework. Yaoundé: Cameroon. Available at http:// http://www.citizens-governance.org/IMG/pdf/Droit_acces_info_transparence_administrative_CMR.pdf
|a. Constitution of 18 January 1996
b. Law no. 90/062 of 19 December 1990 on communication to society in Cameroon (article 49(1))
c. Law of 05 August 1996 on a framework law related to environmental management (art. 17, 72, 74)
d. Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the European Union and the Republic of Cameroon on forest law enforcement, governance and commercial exchanges of timber and by-products with the European Union (FLEGT)
|a. Ministry of the Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development
b. Ministry of Communication,
c. Ministry of the Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development
d. European Union, 10 October 2010 (signature) and July 2011 (ratification by Cameroon)