Malawi: Kazako Should Expedite Operationalisation of Access to Information Act, Free MBC - Panos

The newly-appointed Minister of Information Gospel Kazako has been persuaded by Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) to expedite the operationalisation of the Access to Information Act (ATI) and free up Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to function as a public broadcaster.

President Lazarus Chakwera appointed a 31-member Cabinet on Wednesday, with Kazako, a veteran broadcaster and owner of multi-award winning Zodiak Broadcasting Station, at the helm of the Information Ministry.

A statement issued by Panos executive director Vusumuzi Sifile encourages the new minister to prioritise building a vibrant media sector that will amplify voices of all Malawians on development issues, enhance engagement between citizens and decision makers, and provide a platform for citizens to hold their leaders to account on public service.

Reads the statement in part: "As a starting point towards this, we encourage Mr Kazako to expedite the operationalisation of the Access to Information Act.

"We have no doubt of Mr Kazako's potential to excel in his new position, considering his illustrious record at Zodiak Broadcasting Station. Mr Kazako built Zodiak into a media powerhouse in Malawi, blazing a trail for other media actors across the region."

Panos has also encouraged the new minister to use the opportunity to free up the public broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to function as mandated.

Kazako is a former employee of MBC but went on to establish his own private media house:

"We are confident Mr Kazako appreciates the importance of media freedom as a catalyst for the realisation of the new administration's objective on media growth in Malawi."

Panos also commended President Chakwera for his commitment to operationalise the ATI law.

Among other issues, the ATI Act provides for the right to access information held by public entities and relevant public bodies.

The ATI law was enacted in 2016 but is still not operational because of delays in the setting up of the necessary systems and structures to facilitate its implementation.

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