WINDHOEK, Namibia, 09 May 2015 – PRN Africa — Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Honorable Kondwani Nankhumwa has promised to expedite the process leading to the enactment of the Access to Information (ATI) Bill. Nankhumwa made the promise during MISA Malawi Annual Awards ceremony at the Grand Palace Hotel in Mzuzu on Saturday, May 2.
The awards were organized as part of the celebrations to mark World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), which falls on May 3 every year. “I am pleased to inform you that processes for finalizing the Access to Information Bill will be expedited to ensure that, all things being equal, the proposed piece of legislation is made available for consideration in the National Assembly soon,” Nankhumwa said.
Nankhumwa also promised that government would review the Table Mountain Declaration, as promised in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) manifesto. Nankhumwa said government is committed to ensuring a free and independent press and the right to free speech and access to information by every citizen.
MISA Malawi celebrated the 2015 World Press Freedom Day under the theme ‘Let Journalism Thrive: Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in the Digital Age’ with a panel discussion on the topic: ‘Access to Information in Malawi: Challenges, Progress and Way forward,’ which aimed at assessing the progress Malawi has made in developing a legal framework on ATI.
MISA Malawi has been campaigning for legislation on ATI since 2003, with development of a draft ATI Bill. In 2009, government indicated that the ATI Bill could not be tabled in Parliament unless accompanied by a policy on the same.
The adoption of a Policy on ATI in January 2014 paved the way for finalization of the ATI Bill and its tabling in the National Assembly. MISA Malawi has been campaigning for legislation on ATI with funding from different partners chief among them Trilithons, OSISA and UNESCO.
SOURCE: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
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