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Tabling of freedom of information bill delayed

(MISA/IFEX) - The minister of information and broadcasting services, Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha, confirmed on 16 July 2009 that the freedom of information (FOI) bill will not be tabled before the current parliamentary session. He instead stated that the bill would possibly be introduced in the next parliamentary session.

Responding to queries from journalists in Lusaka, Shikapwasha noted that the government is still making consultations on the bill in different countries, such as the United Kingdom.

President Rupiah Banda announced during a press conference on 24 June 2009 that the government intended to introduce a number of crucial bills in the current parliamentary session. He said this was in order to consolidate the gains his government had recorded and drive forward the national agenda. However, the FOI was not among the announced bills.

MISA Zambia and other media bodies have been calling for the reintroduction of the FOI bill in order to allow the media and the public to have access to public information. They contended that the fight against corruption would not yield meaningful results if legislation that promotes transparency continues to be shelved.

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