Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
Accessible information is vital for citizens to make informed decisions and participate meaningfully in all matters of national interest.
The right for citizens to access public information exists in the Malawian Constitution; Malawi is also a signatory to various United Nations’ charters regarding the access to information as a primary right. Malawi’s media environment should thus be conducive to accessing information.
To this end, civil society organisations have advocated for the passing of access to information legislation since the late 1990s. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi successfully developed a draft bill on access to information in 2003.
Since then, the bill has undergone a number of reviews from a wide range of stakeholders, including MPs, civil society organisations, government ministries and judicial officers.
Due to political obstacles, the bill has not yet been enacted into law – the government emphasises the need to have a policy document on the bill that stipulates the kind of information citizens can access and the processes regulating that access.
Hence, the overall goal of this project is the implementation of access to information policy and legislation in Malawi, to enhance transparency, accountability and participation in public policy making.
This will be achieved by refining the draft bill policy document; enhancing the capacity of MISA to coordinate a nationwide campaign for the passing of the draft bill; raising public awareness and knowledge about the need for access to information legislation; and, finally, building the knowledge, competency and capacity of the general public to demand information and exercise their rights.ShareThis