Malawi President Peter Mutharika has signed into law, Access to Information bill, which allows Malawians to freely access information from the government and other public bodies, according to a report by Nyasa Times.
The Information bill allows the public to access the government records without hustle and obliges public servants to make sure they provide that information, or risk hefty fines or jail terms. The public can report the government to the Malawi Human Rights Commission for review and enforcement orders, if the state withholds information.
Media watchdog Misa-Malawi Chairperson Thom Khanje said the assenting of the law is a huge step in the 12-year long process in which various stakeholders, led by MISA Malawi, campaigned for legislation on access to information.
The much awaited bill will protect state resources by increasing transparency and accountability in the government and empower the public, media to legally force government officials and institutions to release information of public interest according to the Nation.
“With this legislation in place, Malawians will now be able to demand any type of information thereby exercising rights which they could not enjoy in the absence of the enabling law,” Media Institute of Malawi said following the passing of the bill last year, to Malawi 24