Saturday, July 20, 2024

Cabinet approves Access to Information Bill


President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (left) chairs the 17th Cabinet meeting at State House in Lusaka on Monday, October 1,2018. PICTURE BY SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE ©2018

Cabinet has approved the Access to Information Bill.

In a tweet, Information and Broadcasting Service Minister and Chief Government Minister Dora Siliya disclosed that the long awaited Bill has been approved by Cabinet.

Ms Siliya has described the decision by Cabinet as a new beginning.

She states that the Access to Information Bill is aimed at proactive and organised dissemination of information to the Public.

The Access to Information Bill has been pending since 2002 when it was withdrawn from Parliament then known as the Freedom of Information Bill.

Government at the time withdrew the bill for what it said was to allow for further consultations.

Stakeholders have since then been pushing for the bill to be taken to Parliament for enactment into law.


    • It means Zambians (Data Subjects) will have the right just like in EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2028) to request organisations to provide information they hold under Data Suject Requests (SARs). Furthermore, like in the UK, individuals and and other stakeholders can request organisations under ther Freedom of Information Act (FIO) once enacted for example, who are directors for a specific company or if any of the directors have ever been bankrupt etc.

      But the bill will also provide for CONSENTING for example, the press cannot publish anything on individuals without getting a consent but only with exceptions if its deemed that a crime is being committed or their are vulnerable people involved (children, adults).

      I could be…

    • Every move towards a more open government is welcome and deserve to be applauded. However, cabinet approval is one thing, the content of the bill and implementation is another.

  1. What does mean. As jourlists you have to explain impliction.

    Does it mean you now the right and access to tenders confidentiality

    • Go for it!! ECLs PF is institutionalising the corruption fight unlike the post newspaper/Mwanawasa circus….

  2. And it’s all happening under ECLs PF. FIC was also under ECL. The amended constitution was also done by him. The vital instruments of democracy were all failed projects under Mwanawasa. Very fundamental and good move grz!!

    • even without those instruments democracy was more practiced than now when u think it has been institutionalized these is just on paper to hoodwink the likes of you.

  3. 1 & 3 You just confirmed that your criticism against the PF government is not out of your love for Zambia but is out of the fact that as long as HH isn’t president nothing good will come from this government. I thank you for being consistently honest.

  4. They are just trying to do a quick cover up from their crackdown on the media hence passing this bill in a haste. The screws have long been tightened on media freedom.

    This bill is just for show so that when a finger is pointed at them as being intolerant to divergent views, they will be able to point to this bill as not being afraid of their skeletons. Dig underneath, the status quo Will largely the same.

    • Have you even read the document??? The international community will be delighted by this development. Fake news is under threat so hh has just been checked….

    • USA and the Commonwealth are conducting seminars on how to combat fake news while this chipuba called Norah is busy supporting the nonsense. What he forgets is that a bad penny has a habit of returning. Hikahinde may become president (God forbid )but the evil he used to ascend to power will definitely be used to remove him.

  5. The bill means a lot of what was considered classified would be made available to a journalist upon request.

    But my point is, there’s been a lot of media shake ups. Few media houses would be courageous enough to go the extra mile to get the story. Yesterday Dora said govt needed help in monitoring content from tv and radio stations. Already, that sends shivers.

    It’s the irony that on one hand, you are given the right to gather classified information and on the other hand, you have this veiled threat that you are closely being watched.

    I could be wrong but that’s my take.

    • @NORAHS, please be advised that this ACT does not, in anyway, nullify the Law/s (Act/s) that govern CLASSIFICATION, DECLASSIFICATION and RELEASE of this kind of information/documents. Don’t get your hands on classified material/info, share it or publish, and then try to clain protection under the Freedom of Information Act. This Act Will not help you and you will go to jail!

      This just means that now Journalists and others, for “good or necessary” reason/purpose, can now request certain info and documents from the Govt and it’s depts without Govt stonewalling or refusing to comply all together. For as long as the info being requested is not classified or “intelligence” in nature, Govt/Depts have to comply. If not, they can now be taken to Court under this Act. Which was not the…

  6. This is one step in the right direction but without a robust legal and justice system it amounts to nothing. There is need to make institutions of good governance independent especially in this case the investigative wings of government, the National Prosecution Authority and above all need to operationalise the Office of the Public Protector. What is the use of accessing information that can not be acted upon. Secondly, there is a misconception that the ATI is for Journalist only. No it is for every citizen.

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