The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi) would like to commend President Arthur Peter Mutharika for signing into law the Access to Information (ATI) Bill, almost two months after it was passed by Members of Parliament.
State House Director of Information Bright Molande confirmed to MISA Malawi in Blantyre today (Wednesday February 15) that Mutharika has signed the ATI Bill.
The National Assembly passed the much awaited ATI Bill after a heated debate on December 14, 2016 casting a veil of fear as to whether or not the president would assent to the bill.
The signing of the Bill is a climax in a 13-year long process in which various stakeholders led by Misa-Malawi campaigned for legislation on access to information.
Misa-Malawi applauds Mutharika for signing the bill and for fulfilling his campaign promise. The Bill Mutharika has signed reflects the views of Members of Parliament and different stakeholders who painstakingly worked on it for over 13 years. It is also in line with the wishes of many Malawians as reflected in the original draft which followed nation-wide consultations.
The Bill that Mutharika has assented to, among other things, provides for an independent oversight body to monitor and oversee
implementation of the ATI Legislation, provides for whistle blowers protection and safeguards the legislation against laws that limit or
restrict access. These are key provisions that underpin a good ATI regime, across the globe.
Misa-Malawi is confident to state that the Access to Information law as signed by President Mutharika is in line with the wishes of many Malawians as reflected in the original draft which followed nation-wide consultations over a 13 year period.
The Chapter believes that all stakeholders will join hands in ensuring that the Law is implemented for the benefit of Malawians. We hope that all individuals entrusted with the role of information dissemination will endeavor to dutifully uphold the rule of law.
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