Mbumba says Malawi politicians ‘uncomfortable’ with Information Bill: Kaliati rebuts ‘we are not afraid’

Media Owners Association chairperson Mbumba Banda said on Saturday said politican were “very uncomfortable” in passing the Access to Information (ATI) Bill, saying the delays by authorities to enact an ATI legislation  could create an environment for easy access of information in the country.

Kaliati says ATI will betabled and passed

Kaliati says ATI will be tabled and passed

Misa chair Khanje and Presidential chief spinner Molande

Misa chair Khanje and Presidential chief spinner Molande

Journalists on World Press Freedom Day

Journalists on World Press Freedom Day

Banda, who is also Nation Publications Limited (NPL) chief executive officer, was speaking at the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) celebrations at Sunbird Nkopola Hotel in the resort town of Mangochi.

“For some reason, this law [ATI] makes politicians very uncomfortable,” said Banda.

“ This is something I have always failed to understand, because if our leaders really understood and appreciated that they hold their positions on behalf and on the sustained trust of all Malawians, there should be no qualms with making necessary information available to the same masses they purport to serve,” said Banda.

She also called on the media practitioners to be professionals as opposed to journalists who write to please individuals and organisations who make gains and fame for castigating others.

Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati  in her remarks at the event, assure that government is committed to table Access to Information Bill in parliament, saying there is nothing to fear.

“As government, we are not afraid of anything in enacting the ATI Bill into law. However we also fail to understand why government agenda is not given prominence in the country’s media,” Kaliati said.

Kaliati said the Access to Information Bill needs a lot of consultations before it is passed into a land mark law which will put Malawi on record as one of the 15 countries to have such law into place.

She said it was surprising to see people pressuring the DPP-led government into passing a law which would have been in place during past regimes.

Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter chairperson Thom Khanje appealed to government to withdraw the Bill, saying it does not wholly represent views of stakeholders and also called for the amendment of Communication Act to see Malawi Broadcasting Corporation independent.

“We call the government to reverse the bill to its original draft form,” Khanje said adding that it will not be a surprise to see the bill as the worst in the world.

Kaliati said the media “don’t care whether the bill will be tabled in 2024or not.”

She said government want to balance freedom of expression which safety checks on responsibility.

Misa- Malawi has since  called on parliament to look into other laws that limit freedom of expression.

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2 thoughts on “Mbumba says Malawi politicians ‘uncomfortable’ with Information Bill: Kaliati rebuts ‘we are not afraid’”

  1. Roza Muroma says:

    Which government agenda that the media does not give prominence? The K577b, nepotism, tribalism,inept governance, the absent president and all dubious underdealinds are all over media. Be serious Kaliyati, speaking more but saying nothing.

  2. Zilani says:

    Malawi is failing to fight corruption because access to public information is impossible.

    For instance, Bakili’s case could’ve been concluded long time ago, but information isn’t rightly and readily accessible.

    Prosecutors own the info and can decide to personally destroy it without regard. After all there’s no law.

    The current administration wants to ride on the same luck once K577bn cashgate cases come into play.

    APM’s integrity has been thrown to the dogs. So we can buy council houses dubiously, we can buy tractors dubiously, we can siphon out money from the treasury and leave no trail.

    Only for a while, time will tell.

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