MISA Malawi has applauded the government for operationalizing the Access to Information (ATI) Act.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako on August 31 gazetted 30th September, 2020 as the date on which the Act will become operational.
Reacting to the development, MISA Malawi chairperson Teresa Temweka Ndanga said in a statement on Friday that the Gazetting cements the positive strides made in the past 17 years when MISA Malawi together with other stakeholders, initiated advocacy work for the enactment of the ATI law.
“MISA Malawi hopes implementation of the ATI Act will guarantee access to relevant public information and help build public trust in government operations. It entrenches the key values of transparency and accountability, which are pillars of good governance,” said Ndanga.
The act which was enacted in 2016 provides the right to access information in the custody of public bodies and relevant private bodies as well as the processes and procedures related to obtaining that information.
Ndanga in the statement said Malawians will now be able to seek, receive and impart information with legal backing and ease.
“We expect Malawians to fully utilize the law to ensure a transparent and accountable government which is supported by strong democratic institutions,” said Ndanga.
She then urged government to allocate enough resources to the Malawi Human Rights Commission to effectively enable it carry out its oversight role on the act.
Ndanga also encouraged public bodies to appoint information officers who would handle information requests.