The acting chief secretary to government Willy Samute has asked controlling officers in all government departments to work closely with their public relations officers (PROs) to ensure that whatever information comes out from a public office is accurate.
He was speaking last week during an orientation meeting for principal secretaries on access to information policy in Lilongwe.
Samute said when the Law on Access to Information is passed, the responsibility of providing responses or releasing information will lie with public relations officers and that this will have to be vetted and sanctioned by principal secretaries and controlling officers.
“There is need, therefore, for close collaboration and coordination between the controlling officers on one hand and public relations officers on the other hand to ensure that whatever information comes out from public offices is complete, accurate and released timely,” he said.
According to Samute, research by Transparency International has shown that countries which have Access to Information legislation are perceived to be the least corrupt, noting that “it is the spirit of transparency and accountability that breeds good governance”.
However, Samute said the principle behind the right to access to information is that the public will have the right to know how resources are being utilised.
Principal secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Information and Civic Education, Chimwemwe Banda, said the orientation will help to reach a consensus on the implementation arrangements of the policy.