Information and Media Minister Chushi Kasanda says the Access to Information Bill will be taken to Parliament during the session that resumes on 15 February 2022 as this is in line with the government’s commitment to achieving a free media.
Ms. Kasanda said that the harassment of the media that was witnessed previously will not occur during the new dawn administration.
Ms. Kasanda has, however, urged journalists to be responsible in their news coverage and ensure that they balance their stories and that Government wants to partner with the media to promote countrywide coverage, editorial independence, and free media.
Ms. Kasanda noted that government is, however, aware of the many challenges that the media face such as lack of transport and modern equipment.
Speaking when she met Ireland Ambassador Bronagh Carr at her office in Lusaka today, Ms. Kasanda said it is for this reason that her ministry is meeting with various stakeholders to address some of the challenges the media face.
She said her ministry also wants to promote exchange programs for journalists in order to promote professionalism.
In response, Ms. Carr commended the New Dawn Administration for placing emphasis on free and fair media as Zambia has had challenges concerning free media in the past.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kasanda has said that Transparency is key in good governance and that was why the new dawn administration is running a transparent system in managing public resources.
Ms. Kasanda said that government as a custodian of public information wants to ensure that there is a legal framework in place that allows the public to access information held by public bodies.
Ms. Kasanda said that the access to Information Bill once enacted will benefit the media and the public in accessing information.
Ms. Kasanda said that Government feels the enactment of the Bill has been long overdue and that is why President Hakainde Hichilema wants the ministry of Information and Media to ensure that the enactment process is accelerated.
Ms. Kasanda was speaking during the reviewing and analysing of submissions from stakeholders on the Access to Information Bill in Lusaka today.
Ms. Kasanda said that government wants full and wide stakeholder participation in the review of the Bill so that consensus is achieved, adding that the Bill was recalled from the Ministry of Justice to allow for wider consultation with stakeholders.