Minister Kazako reiterates govt commitment to ensuring free flow of and access to information

Minister of Information and Digitalization Gospel Kazako has assured civil society organizations (CSOs) that the Tonse Alliance government remains committed to ensuring that there is improved and enhanced access to information on matters of national importance.

Kazako also assured the media in Malawi that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his government do not have any plans to gag their operations.

The Chief Government Spokesperson was reacting to National Advocacy Platform (NAP), which lamented that Malawians are still having difficulties to access information despite the enactment of the Access to Information Law.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako

NAP is a coalition of like-minded CSOs, which included Civil Society Education Network (CESC) Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), Malawi Health Equity Network (MEHN), Media Council of Malawi (MCM), MISA Malawi, NGO Coalition on Child Rights (NGO-CCR), NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN), Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Water and Sanitation Network (WESNET), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).

Others are Youth Consultative Forum (YCF), Malawi Human Rights Resource Center (MHRRC), Citizen Alliance (CA), Youth and Society (YAS), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Network for Youth Development (NYfD), Forum for National Development (FND), Center for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE), Young Politicians Union (YPU), Political Scientists Association (PSA) and Center for Research and Consultancy.

The coalition recently penned the government to express their discontent with the level of commitment among public officers to provide information to citizens who demand for it.

“For instance, recently the court granted an injunction against Platform for Investigative Journalism restraining the organisation from investigating the alleged externalization of forex. This does not only violate the freedom of the press but also undermines the access to information through media outlets,” reads part of the letter.

But in his response, Kazako reiterated that the Tonse Alliance government remains committed to ensuring that there is free flow of information on any matter of importance.

“The Chakwera government has nothing to hide. As such, I can assure the concerned CSOs and all Malawians that the Chakwera administration is working very hard to inculcate the culture of openness, transparency and accountability among public officers,” said the minister.

Kazako added that President Chakwera would be the last person to stifle media freedoms, stressing that the incumbent Head of State is a ‘strong supporter of a free press’.

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