ACCESS TO INFORMATION KEY TO CITIZEN PARTICIPATION-MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia has called on Zambians to embrace the campaign for the Championing of the Access to Information Bill as it is a vital tool for citizen participation in national issues.

MISA Programs Manager Jane Chirwa said access to information is very important for transparency and accountability.

She added that the Access to information Bill was not only for the media but for every Zambian.

“As citizens of Zambia, you have a right to access information, it is provided for under the constitution,” she said.

Mrs Chirwa said Zambia is a democratic state that calls for freedom of expression therefore citizens must have access to information and disclosure should take precedence.

She was speaking at an awareness campaign meeting held at the University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Road Campus.

Speaking at the same event, Jesuit Centre for Theoretical Reflection (JCTR) Programs Officer Lloyd Bwalya said the failure to access certain information from public offices has left a number of research projects carried out by the institution pending.

“It is embedded in our work to see to it that the Access to Information Registration is passed,”he said.

Mr Bwalya said  the passing of the Access to Information Bill would be a step towards development because a lot of energy would be channeled towards development purposes other than mare speculations.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Equity Party (EPP) President Chilufya Tayali said access to information was a vital tool in the fight against poverty.

He said, with enough access information, people would be able to vote wisely  as they would have the ability to make informed decisions.

“Information is power as well as potential power, when you have information you have power,” Tayali said.

Mr Tayali further appealed to Zambian citizens to speak out and to keep on calling for the registration of the Access to Information Bill.

 

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