Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation(CHRR), held a workshop for media practitioners in the country on the role of access to information in the fight against corruption.
CHRR are implementing the project with funding from Africa Freedom For Information Freedom.
Addressing over 25 journalists who attended the workshop in Lilongwe on Wednesday, executive Director, for CHRR Timothy Mtambo, urged Malawi Government to remove the veil of secrecy in all matters bordering on governance issues.
Mtambo said Malawi is slowly turning into a “rumour mongering” nation.
“There can be no rumours and Speculations in the country if the leadership allowed free flow of information, all the speculations are coming due to lack of official information on the ,” Said Mtambo.
In his remarks, CHRR Programme Manager, who is also the coordinator of Access to Information Project, Patson Gondwe, said every individual have the right to receive information and access information.
“Every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his opinions within the law.And everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice Art. 19 (2) ICCPR,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe said moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behavioUr, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and international law, are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being, “and which are inherent in all human beings regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status.
Gondwe said governments should respect access to information in the sense of being universal.
He quoted international instruments such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 19 of 1946, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of 1976, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights , article 9 of 1987, African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance Article 19 and some of the crucial pillars which strengthen’s call for access to information.
Gondwe said African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, Article 9 and 12 (4) and Rio Declaration Principle 10 and Africa Model law on Access to Information are also important pillars.
Ironically despite all the above quoted international instruments out of 105 Countries, only 16 of them have Access to information Law in Africa.
The importance of the right to information according to Gondwe is that it promote rule of law, democracy and Participation.
Gondwe said access to information has also proved to be the major weapon in fighting corruption in Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :