Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi has asked for patience on the
operationisation of the Access to Information law, saying there are consultations with the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the institution that will be supervising the whole process, to put into operation ATI law, almost a year since President Peter Mutharika assented to it.
Dausi however did not commit himself to the time frame on exactly when the law will be in operational.
He said this in an interview during the graduation ceremony of 533 journalists from the Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) in Blantyre.
“The law will be operational very soon after the consultations with the Malawi Human Rights are over,” said Dausi.
His comments come amid concerns that the government is delay-dallying to operationalize the law and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa Malawi Chapter) chairperson Teresa Ndanga said they were dissatisfied with the delays in operationalising the law and her institution with other stakeholders may be forced to take the matter to court.
Dausi \, who is expected to gazette the operationalisation of the Act, said the government knows very well that information is power and is doing all it can to speed up the operationalization of the law.
Officials from MHRC say the organization, mandated by law to operationalize the ATI law, is just waiting funding from the government.
MHRC commissioner Patrick Semphere also said ATI instruments, including information request forms, complaints forms, information seeking guidelines and communication strategy have been put in place.
Mutharika assented to the controversially-passed Act on February 16 2017. The Act would empower Malawians to access information from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and hold the officerbearers accountable.
Opposition parties in Parliament last year forced the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government to present the bill in Parliament. Government presented a watered down version of the bill
Turning to the graduating journalism students, Dausi urged them to be professional and ethical especially in the run up and during the 2019 general elections.
Dausi urged them to start their own media businesses as the current media houses cannot absorb all of them.