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Panos challenges Malawi on Access to Information

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Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) has congratulated Malawi on the enactment of the Access to Information (ATI) law with a challenge for all stakeholders to ensure full implementation of the law.

PSAf is a regional non-profit, non-governmental communication for development organisation that uses innovative communication methodologies to amplify voices of the poor and marginalised to shape their own development.

According to PSAf, the enactment of the ATI law is a step in the right direction and a strong trigger for increased citizens’ participation in promoting accountability in the management of public resources in the country.

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In a statement, Panos Executive Director, Lilian Kiefer, said the body is aware that the legislation has been elusive for many years, and even this time around, some political actors attempted, in vain, to block it.

“It is our hope as PSAf that the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary will each play their part to ensure that the provisions of this law are adhered to,” Kiefer said.

She also urged citizens to tap into the opportunities that the law has availed to seek and access vital and life-saving information that public entities are holding.

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“It is also our hope that this law will contribute to strengthened investigative journalism in the country, as journalists will now have improved access to information held by public entities.

“On our part, we will continue to work with the media and other stakeholders to ensure that information is effectively used to drive development,” she said.

Kiefer said the law will enhance PSAf’s work as it will create an enabling environment for citizens to access information and engage meaningfully in developmental debates and dialogue.

PSAf believes that an informed citizenry equals meaningful citizen participation in fostering accountability in development processes.

“The ATI Act compels those holding public information to make it available to citizens. With this legislation in place, PSAf looks forward to increased citizens’ participation in the country’s governance and in combating corruption, which continues to rear its ugly head in the country,” Kiefer said.

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