‘Access to Information law not for journalists alone’, Nkandaani urges public to back bill


Internews Ntwork Zambia senior lawyer , Joe Nkadaani, has urged the public not to view the Access to Information (ATI) bill as media law as it is a cross-cutting beneficial legal instrument.

Nkadaani observed this in a presentation during a Civil Society Democracy Summit sidelines meeting in Lusaka on Tuesday.

He said the ATI draft law had not gained the much needed traction simply because the public perceive the law to be only beneficial to the media.

“The ATI bill once it becomes law will be beneficial to everyone, civil society and the government itself because everyone needs information,” Nkadaani said.

Read more: zambia-urged-to-hasten-action-on-access-to-information-bill-for-greater-transparency-accountability

He said there was a need for the citizenry regardless of their background to support the bill while creating demand for it to work.

He said due to financial implications, the government should consider using the existing oversight bodies like the Human Rights Commission or the Public Protector rather than coming up with a Commission.

“We can broaden the mandate of the existing bodies like the Public Protector or the Human Rights Commission to drive and run the ATI implementation and enforcement processes, ” Nkadaani said.

Meanwhile governance expert Reuben Lifuka agreed with Nkadaani on the need to add the ATI oversight role to either Human Rights Commission or the Public Protector .

“Coming up with an ATI Commission will be costly, preferably the responsibility can pushed to either the Human Rights Commission or the public Protector, we have too many Commissions some of which have not been operational,” Lifuka said.

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