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98 Public Institutions Designate ATI Officers

Chipenda Chipenda - file photo

Government says at least 98 public institutions which include district councils, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have so far designated information officers which are providing information in accordance with Access to information (ATI) law.

Deputy director in the Ministry of Information, Arthur Chipenda has told Zodiak Online on Tuesday that the officers provided their contact details and what remains is for the department of e-government to create their official e-mail addresses as most of them were using free addresses before Minister of Information publishes the list as per law.

Chipenda says currently only 58 institutions are working to appoint or replace the public information officers of whom some were transferred.

"We have the list of the institutions and contact details for the information officers appointed or designated. Now what is remaining is for us to have official email addresses for all of them. This has taken sometime just because most of them provided these free addresses, but we felt these public officers need to have official ones," Chipenda explained.

However, Media Council of Malawi (MCM) executive director, Moses Kaufa while noting government's commitment towards the Act which was operationalised in 2020, has expressed dismay over the slow pace in recruiting or appointing the officers.

Kaufa has indicated that the delay is affecting its effective implementation.

He said: "It's our worry that government is delaying the recruitment process because ATI law was operationalised in September 2020, and this is the third year of implementation but still all the information officers have not been recruited."

According to the law, it is required for the Minister of Information to publish the list of the officers every fiscal year.

The ATI law provides for the right of access to information in the custody of public and relevant private bodies as one way of enhancing transparency and accountability in order to promote an open and democratic society.

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