Youth and Society (YAS) and Development Communications Trust (DCT) on Friday engaged the media in the northern region in a project aimed at influencing effective implementation and enforcement of regulatory framework that guarantees right to information.
Briefing the journalists at Grand Palace Hotel in Mzuzu, Aubrey Chikungwa of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Malawi said Access to information was a human right that helps one to enjoy other human rights.
The media orientation revealed that Malawi as a country had a weak score of 4 out of 10 on the Open Government Partnership Index for its access to information environment. The project therefore seeks to redress this situation.
The project which rolled out in January 2021 and will come to an end in January 2023 expects a shift in the bureaucratic culture of secrecy by June 2022.
Grace Mtawali of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) facilitated a presentation on freedom of expression which highlighted on limits and penalties associated with the freedom of expression.
Media practitioners in the northern region have been left with food for thought on how best they can take up their role in making sure that Malawian citizens exercise their right to access information which they need.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after the orientation, Radio Islam reporter, Aubrey Thom Vakhani, said it was an eye opener.
“The Access To Information Act has always been complex with its legal language but this orientation meeting has actually simplified a number of issues that we could not understand as journalists.
“You see, if we as journalists could not fully understand this act, how then could the masses in the rural areas who rely on us on information understand the same. We have been equipped to give the right information regarding the act to our readers, listeners and viewers,” said Vakhani.