Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa says processes leading to the enactment of the Access To Information (ATI) Bill are 90 percent complete.
Nankhumwa said this at Bvumbwe in Thyolo on Friday where he officially opened a Capacity Building Workshop organised by the Association of Business Journalists (ABJ) with financial assistance from Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra).
Said the minister: “The Draft Bill was with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and now it is back at my ministry to fill some gaps before taking it to Cabinet then to Parliament for legislation.”
In recent years, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter has been advocating for the enactment of the law.
Misa Malawi has emphasised that ATI is not just about journalists accessing information as it would also empower citizens to demand the same from duty-bearers and public service providers.
Commenting on the capacity building workshop organised by ABJ, Nankhumwa, a former journalist at taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), said the importance of specialised journalism such as business and economics reporting cannot be overemphasised.
In his remarks, ABJ national coordinator Aubrey Mchulu said ABJ members will strive to continue being objective and professional in discharging their duties to enable the public make informed decisions on business and economic developments.
Macra director general Andrew Kumbatira said his organisation values its partnership with ABJ and other media associations; hence, it is always ready to financially support such capacity building initiatives.
During the workshop, several people, including chief presidential adviser on economic affairs Collins Magalasi and Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) chief executive officer John Kamanga, made presentations on the economy, the bond market, business reporting trends and operations of Macra such as the Consolidated Information and Communications Technology Regulatory Management System (Cirms)—aka Spy Machine—and television white spaces project. (With additional reporting and background by The Nation)