Communities in Nkhata Bay have asked their members of Parliament (MPs) to support and pass the Access to Information (ATI) Bill when it is tabled in the august House.
The communities made the remarks last week during dialogue sessions Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi and Media Council of Malawi (MCM) organised in a campaign for the enactment and popularisation of the ATI Bill.
The campaign and sensitisation were done at Bula and Usisya in Senior Chief M’bwana and at Chihame and Chitheka in Chief Kabunduli in the district.
“We really need a bill on access to information because currently it is difficult to access information, especially on developmental issues,” said Village Head (VH) Mpoola of Chitheka after being sensitised to the bill.
“Time has come for communities to access information without problems. We are asking all members of Parliament to pass the Access to Information Bill into law so that we can enjoy our human right of accessing information without problems.”
James Kuwali from Usisya said MPs need to pass the bill because it will assist people in the country to easily get information on various issues regardless of where they live.
He applauded Misa Malawi for bringing the ATI Bill discussion to rural communities, saying most issues are just discussed at central level.
“Communities from rural areas are usually sidelined. But we thank Misa Malawi for coming to Usisya to inform us on access to information,” said Kuwali.
MCM executive director Vales Machila said once passed into law, the bill would not only assist journalists but all people who need to access any public information.
“Access to information is a human rights issue and, as a country, we really need this bill so that people can access information without problems,” he said.
The bill is expected to be tabled during the next sitting of Parliament. n