The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has commended government’s pronouncement that the much anticipated Access to Information (A.T.I) Bill will be presented to parliament next month.
ZANIS reports that MISA Zambia Vice Chairperson Elizabeth Chanda says the pronouncement is more than welcome as the law is long overdue.
Mrs. Chanda says the ATI bill needs to be tabled in parliament as it benefit every citizen in the country when it is becomes law.
“As stakeholders, we have had time to look at the law and its implications. By now, we all know that the law is not meant to only benefit the media. Yes, the media will talk more about it because for them, information is their major resource.
“Maybe in terms of usage, Journalists will use the law more than any other ordinary citizen. However, it does not take away the fact that each and every citizen will benefit from this law,” she stated.
Mrs. Chanda, who is also a Media Law Lecturer at the University of Zambia, said Zambia has grown as a country and as a democratic state, the issues surrounding the Access to Information Bill are clearly understood.
“It is high time we moved in a certain direction. As MISA, we want to see specific results,” she added.
And Independent Broadcasting Authority (I.B.A) Director General Josephine Mapoma says the pronouncement by government to table the A.T.I bill before parliament is a welcome move.
Ms. Mapoma echoed Ms. Chanda’s sentiments that the law is not only meant to benefit journalists as is misconstrued.
She said the law will allow every single citizen to access information on an individual basis.
Minister of Justice Given Lubinda recently said the Access to Information Bill will be presented to parliament when it begins its sitting next month.