Malawi Government says consultations are underway to re-engage the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) in signing the Table Mountain Declaration to ensure more media freedom.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Kondwani Nankhumwa also said the Access to Information Draft Bill and its policies will be ready for tabling in the next budget session in September.
The declaration is an appeal to all Africans, particularly those in power, to recognise that the political and economic progress they seek flourishes in a climate where the press is free and independent of governmental, political or economic control.
Said Nankhumwa: “The DPP-led government feels that by signing the declaration, media freedom would be enhanced to lead to a vibrant democratic society where there is rule of law, accountability and transparency in service delivery,” he said of the DPP-led government.
Nankhumwa said the Access to Information Bill had delayed because government was still working on a policy framework, but promised the House the draft bill will be ready in September.
“Government approved the National Access to Information Policy in January this year and we are working on the rest. We realise that this [Access to Information Bill] will provide an enabling environment that will enable citizens to meaningfully participate in issues that affect them and the national budget,” he said
Reacting to the news, Misa Malawi chairperson Anthony Kasunda said his organisation appreciates the step government has taken.
“We are happy that there is an appreciation on the part of government to start engaging on media-related issues such as the Table Mountain Declaration. We are pleased with this development and we look forward to an opportunity to provide the President [Peter Mutharika] with information on what this declaration is all about,” he said.