Freedom of information is not only critical for the purpose of creating a Government that is accountable to its citizens, but also the provision of information, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has said.
He said Freedom of Information was important for bringing about higher levels of public participation in policy making and good governance.
Dr Matibini said this in a speech delivered on his behalf by Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Mbewe at the official opening of the media training workshop in Lusaka.
He said he was particularly delighted because the workshop had come at a time when the National Assembly of Zambia was preparing to host the 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly and related meetings from 19th to 23rd March, 2016.
“We also believe that freedom of information enhances the notion of deliberate or participatory democracy,” Dr Matibini said.
He said it was with the foregoing in mind that the National Assembly of Zambia has been implementing parliamentary reforms.
Dr Matibini said the National Assembly under the member-constituency relations, which was one of the five areas of reforms, had undertaken a number of activities that have been aimed at providing information to the members of the public.
He said under its reform programme, the National Assembly of Zambia has created mechanism for the provision of information through the parliament website, radio and the media centre etc. Dr Matibini said the National Assembly had also come up with a communication strategy designed to create a platform, and mechanism for engagement with and empowerment of citizens including the media to increase their participation in the governance process. Dr Matibini said National Assembly had also published a parliamentary handbook containing biographical and contact details for members of Parliament.
Dr Matibini said the workshop was also aimed at strengthening the capacity of the media in Parliament reporting without breaching parliamentary regulations.