The Sunday News
Melinda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
WOMEN and girls’ rights organisations, Tag a Life International (TaLI), on Thursday launched the My Freedom of Information campaign, a platform aimed at raising awareness on the Freedom of Information Act for vulnerable groups and journalists.
The Freedom of Information Act repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), providing citizens and media practitioners with the right to access information and creating legal frameworks and mechanisms for accessing information from public and private bodies.
The campaign is being done be TaLI, in partnership with Fojo Media Institute, Identities Media TV and the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Honorable Monica Mutsvangwa said there is a need for mandatory designation of Information Officers in all public and private entities that shall be responsible for handling information requests and disclosure of information to the public.
“The new law provides for the obligation on entities to have a written information disclosure policy. The law also provides for the provision of information in a language requested by the applicant. These practical provisions if well-resourced and are made know to the citizens and journalists, will ensure that citizens enjoy their constitutional freedoms and rights to information, as well as freedom of expression,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa further encouraged citizens and journalists to utilize the law and be positive about the government initiatives to repeal the infamous AIPPA noting that citizens; especially women, girls and youths, must put the law to the test.
In a statement, Fojo Media Institute said the Freedom of Information Act plays a huge role in advancing female journalists, women, and girls’ rights in Zimbabwe.
“This is an initiative designed to publicize this law so that citizens, especially women, girls as well as female journalists may begin to enjoy the law and assert their rights to access to information. The campaign is being implemented by TaLI, with support from the Fojo Media Institute (Fojo), International Media Support (IMS), and with funding from the Embassy, reads the statement.
The Campaign started with a training of ambassador journalists on the Freedom of Information Act on Wednesday.
The training focused on how best they can empower women and girls especially those who reside in remote areas on how best they can participate in the media.