The government of Malawi has set 30 September 2020 as the day when its Access to Information Act comes into operation, almost three years after it was signed into law.
The law allows citizens the right to access information held by both public and private entities. Access to information is a key component to open governance, transparency and accountability.
A highlight of the legislation is that the Malawi Human Rights Commission will have oversight over the implementation of the law, a key difference with other countries such as Zimbabwe, where the Zimbabwe Media Commission, and not the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, has oversight over the country’s Freedom of Information Act.
MISA Zimbabwe position
MISA Zimbabwe applauds the government of Malawi for finally operationalising its Access to Information Act. For the law to be fully effective, we call on the government to adequately resource the Malawi Human Rights Commission to enable it to fulfil its mandate in that regard.
In addition, countries in the region, such as Zimbabwe, should take a leaf from the government of Malawi and ensure they have wholesome access to information laws that promote transparency and accountability by both public and private entities.