Malawians unaware of ATI law – MHRC

The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) says more needs to be done on public awareness for the much-touted Access to Information (ATI) law.

MHRC’s Director for Civil and Political Rights Peter Chisi has told Yoneco FM that despite the law being operationalized last year, most Malawians are not familiar with contents of the Act.

“As a Commission, there is a lot that we are expected to do, one of the key responsibilities that we have is to actually conduct awareness on ATI,” said Chisi.

“Meanwhile, we have planned a number of activities on public awareness starting with orientation of key people and institutions but apart from that we also have awareness programmes to be put on radio and TV including community sensitisation meetings so that the law is taken to the people.”

According to Chisi, the Commission has instituted a number of public awareness programmes but lack of funding has been a major constraint that is negatively impacting the development.

He said: “However, we don’t have enough resources currently to carry out all those activities, we asked government to increase our funding and I am happy to report that for this 2021 there was at least an increase in the budget.”

“But because of the so many needs that we have including organising the Office still more we need more resources we are therefore going to look for more partners to assist us with finances.”

ATI law was initially assented to by former President Peter Mutharika on February 10, 2017 and only came into operation in 2020.

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