ZAMBIA Institute for Independent Media president Jajah Coulibaly says he is dismayed at the Patriotic Front government’s decision not to publicise the contents of the Access to Information Bill.
In an interview, Coulibaly said that the Access to Information Bill was a public document, hence the need for government to publicise it before presenting it before Parliament.
“As Zambia Institute for Independent Media, we are dismayed by the government’s decision to rush the Access to Information Bill without publicising its contents. The Access to Information Bill is not a private document but a public document, which should be in public domain. This document is not a document for the Minister of Justice but for members of the public,” Coulibaly said. “Media stakeholders had made submissions to the government on what we expected to be contained in the Access to Information Bill, and we expected government to publicise the contents so that stakeholders are afforded an opportunity to make amendments. But given the route that the government wants to take, we feel that there are monkey trick at play. Now there appears to be some secrecy on the Access to Information Bill.”
Coulibaly said his organisation would not celebrate the presentation of the Access to Information Bill without knowing its contents.
“The document might be defeating to the media practitioners. It might have some lacunas that might work against the media and, probably, make it extremely difficult for media practitioners to gather information meant for news. And that is why we have been repeatedly saying that we are not going to celebrate the presentation of this Bill to Parliament,” said Coulibaly.