Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter has appealed to government to gazette the Access to Information Bill as a way of ensuring that it will be tabled in the meeting of Parliament which starts on Monday.
Misa-Malawi, in conjunction with Journalists Union of Malawi (Juma), Citizens for Justice (CFJ), and Open Democracy Advice Centre on Friday issued a statement which has stressed the need to pass the bill in the next meeting of parliament.
While hailing cabinet for adopting the bill, the organisations feel that more has to be done.
“We consider the adoption commendable and a demonstration of commitment to transparency, and accountability which are key in promoting good governance and sustainable development. We however, believe that the adoption is but one of the stages that the bill has to go through before it becomes law. We therefore would like to take this opportunity to appeal to government to conclude the commendable work done by (1) publishing the approved bill in the gazette (2) tabling the bill,” reads the statement.
In the statement the organisations say if the bill is tabled in parliament and passed, the new law will elevate Malawi’s standing at international stage as a champion of good governance and constitutional order.
The organisations also say the new law will fulfil the country’s commitment to a number of international instruments and principles including the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which government signed in 2012.
“One of the key commitments under the draft OGP National Action Plan is Access to Information (ATI), without which it would be meaningless to talk about OGP and citizen empower,” reads the statement, which has been signed by Misa Malawi chairman, Thom Khanje and CFJ executive director Reinford Mwangonde.
“Our expectation is that members of Parliament will support the Bill on behalf of Malawians. When that Bill becomes a law it will give power to all people to access information,” Khanje said.
Vice chairperson of Media and Communications Committee of Parliament, Godfrey Munkhondia said the MPs will thoroughly scrutinise the Bill.
“I’m hopeful that this bill will be tabled in the House. I believe that at a certain stage, it will be referred to Media Committee [of Parliament] so that we engaged different stakeholders. We want to make sure that the new law will be to the best interest of all people,” Munkhondia said.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues