ATI bill among world’s top legislations

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International legal experts have rated Malawi’s Access to Information (ATI) Bill as one of world’s strongest Right to Information (RTI) legislations.

The ATI bill is yet to be passed into law but an analysis by Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) shows that if passed, the bill would become one of stronger laws in the world, ranking in 15th position on the internationally recognised RTI Rating.

Peter Mutharika

Mutharika: Called for the enactment of the Bill.

The experts found that the bill has a number of positive features, including a relatively broad scope, strong promotional measures and a good public interest override.

These factors pushed the ATI bill to a higher  RTI   Rating,   scoring  a   respectable   111   points   out   of   a   possible   150, which   would   make   it   the   fifteenth  best  national  RTI  law  in  the  world, and the  fifth  best in Africa.

This comes at a time when government has refused to table the bill saying that it contains inconsistencies which should be worked on by the cabinet.

CLD also noted that President Peter Mutharika has been demanding that the bill should only apply to information generated after it is adopted,   a move the law experts said would limit the bill’s scope   of   application   and usefulness.

“Restricting the right to information to future documents would dramatically undermine the impact of the law,” said CLD’s Senior Legal Officer, Michael Karanicolas. “Rather than weakening the bill, the priority for the government should now be on getting it passed into law.”

However, the law experts recommended that the proposed law should provide for the establishment of a commissioner for information and that there should be no sanctions if anyone misuses disclosed information.

CLD also recommended that the bill be amended so that people can get information regarding the president and that there should be few exceptions for information regarding personal privacy.

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9 Comments

  1. It’s a shame to our leaders because each and every one who lead the Nation is there to steal and not to help the country growing. But at the other hand I have to blame the entire nation because it’s we people who make someone to become a dictator, first; we know that the leader makes mistakes but we keep on voting for him and give him support. What for? Secondly; Our organisation eg. Ellectral commission, they know who exactly won the elections but they will do there level best to steal the votes leaving the people’s hope helpless. So it will be always a problem to sort out the problem because of corruption. That’s my words, from Alick Mzali Nyirenda

  2. That’s perilous.The guy is clever. He knows that doing so will open up a can of worms that can even lead to the demise of DPP. And from the look of things, he will not give in unless his wishes are fulfilled, believe me or not.

  3. The current administration knows the wrath of this bill against them. They know that Malawians will push to know the real Author of cashgate, the 557 billion cashgate, 92billion cashgate and the 24 billion cashgate… People wil find the real causes of delays in giving the civil servants (health workers and police) their Leave Grants which are no where to be seen up to now, people will push to know who authorised the importation of luxurious duty free vehicles of mr Gani…

  4. Pali mawu oti”munthu ukafuna kuwalamulira mwa nkhanza umafunika kuti uwasiye mbali ina blind rather blank.These politicians and even some other government departments are doing lots of katangale ndi zonyansa zambiri zoti if this bill is put into law zawo zada.What are the limitations for?Public expenditure tracking ikukanika kuti ipangidwe effectively kamba kosowa kwa bill imeneyi.Inu mukuona ngati sadziwa?Mukamve mitengo yomwe boma likugulira katundu,inuyo dengu lomwelo la tomato mukuligula K10,000 boma dengu lomwelo akuligula K70,000 mungakafunse ndani popanda lamulo limeneli?This bill is very important if Malawi is to progress komano resistance imeneyi mukuona ngati ikupangidwa ulele,ai someone,somewhere is beneffiting and doesnt want this so called ATI bill kuti ikhale stumbling block.Ndinakaonera section 65 kunakakhala kotheka kutero.