More delays on Acess To Information Act implementation


MALAWIANS will have to wait a little longer before the Access to Information (ATI) Act is implemented following the disclosure by three institutions working on its implementation that more work needs to be completed on the act.

The three institutions— the Ministry of Justice, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and Ministry of Information and Communions Technology—have said before the Act is implemented, there is need to appoint information officers and develop guidelines on the act.

This was disclosed at a press briefing by the three institutions on the status of implementation of the act on Friday in Lilongwe. MHRC Chairperson Justin Dzonzi said the act could possibly be ready by December.


“Before the law is actually gazetted for enforcement, the Ministry of Information and MHRC should carry out a mapping exercise to ensure that all information holders have information offices in place. MHRC also ought to provide guidelines on how information seekers should access information and how information holders should respond and provide information. Perhaps the best guess would be maybe by December we might be ready,” he said.

Commenting on the same, MHRC Commissioner Patrick Semphere said the major challenge is that people expect a speedy implementation of the act when there is a lot to be done.

“When the President [Peter Mutharika] assented to this law, the expectation was that this Act would take effect immediately but there is so much that needs to be put in place before the law can take effect,” he said.


Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who chaired the press briefing, said a steering committee with membership from the ministries of Justice and Information and MHRC has been set up to look into matters of the act.

“The steering committee comprises 12 members. This committee has met three times and so far developed draft terms of reference and a draft road map among others,” he said.

According to MHRC, after the act is implemented not all information will be made available to the public for security reasons.

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