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‘Government committed to table ATI Bill’

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Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati says government is committed to table Access to Information Bill in Parliament.

Kaliati made the call in response to Misa Malawi’s concerns on the much talked Access to Information (ATI) Bill and Communication Bill during the 2016 World Press Freedom Day celebrations at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi Saturday evening.

Kaliati said the Access to Information Bill needs a lot of consultations before it is passed into a landmark law which will put Malawi on record as one of the 15 countries to have such law in place.

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She said it was surprising to see people pressuring the DPP-led government into passing a law which would have been in place during past regimes.

She made the statement after Misa Malawi accused government of tampering with ATI bill draft for its own interests and for controlling MBC and Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra).

“We call the government to reverse the bill to its original draft form,” Misa Malawi Chairperson Thom Khanje said adding that it will not be a surprise to see the bill as the worst in the world.

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He also called on Parliament to look into other laws that limit freedom of expression.

In her speech at the award gala Media Owners Association Chairperson Mbumba Banda said mainstream media is being challenged by social media such that breaking news no longer carries its past glory of being the sought after news.

Banda, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Nations Publications Limited (NPL), however called on the media practitioners to be professional as opposed to journalists who write to please individuals and organisations who make gains and fame for castigating others.

The 2016 World Press Freedom Day under the theme ‘Fostering Freedom of Expression’ included a freedom march within Mangochi Township, panel discussion at Fort Johnson Hotel, sporting activities, awards presentation and gala dinner at Nkopola Sunbird Hotel.

The Times Group received Print Media House of the year award and TV of the year award while Zodiak Broadcasting Station received the best electronic media of the year award and on line publication media of the year award.

Times and NPL scooped several awards in print media as ZBS dominated in the electronic awards while Malawi Broadcasting Corporation got one award.

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