By Asimenye Sibale and John Chihana, MANA
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter says civil society organizations (CSOs) have a huge role to play in making sure that the citizenry at large understand their rights to access to information from public servants.
Misa Malawi chairperson Theresa Ndanga said this in Chitipa on Sunday during a meeting with CSOs on how they can access public information as per the provisions in the new Access to Information (ATI) law.
She said benefits of the new law can be enjoyed only if the general public is aware of the procedures on how to access information from duty bearers.
“Since access to information has become a law, we want the CSO leaders to understand the provisions of the new law and our desired outcome is for the CSOs to spread this knowledge to the communities they work with,” Ndanga said.
“There are some CSOs that work in education, agriculture and health whom we want to share this information to the citizens so that every Malawian is able to understand and utilize the law by demanding information from public offices at local level.”
She further said Misa Malawi is also engaging the CSOs in order to erase the notion that the new law only benefits journalists.
In his remarks, the Chitipa CSOs chairperson, Sydney Simwaka said the engagement with Misa Malawi was an eye opener as they are now aware of the procedures to follow when demanding information.
The access to information law became operational on September 30 this year after it was ratified in 2017.