The 2010 Report on the Most Open and Secretive Government institutions in Zambia released by MISA Zambia has revealed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services is the most secretive Government institution for having an outdated website and failure to respond to written requests.
The Report revealed that none of the Government and public institutions in the country qualified to be awarded the most open.
It also pointed out that out of the Government line ministries; which include
Ministry of Education, Transport and Communication, Finance and National
Planning, Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS) and Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ as a public institution) surveyed non of them qualifies to be the most open.
Launching the Report in Lusaka today, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Interim Chairperson Fanwell Tembo said the research conducted indicates that the Ministry of Education could have been the most open institution for the year 2010 if it had not failed to provide functional website which he described was the major criteria for the research.
Mr. Tembo disclosed that Ministry of Education was closer to openness and responded to the citizen’s request for information despite not having a functional website.
He named the Ministry of Communications and Transport, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, and ECZ for the well resourced websites which he said were bent on providing the public with necessary and useful information.
He noted that had the three institutions provided information to those who may not have access to ICTs through proactive disclosure and responded to written requests, they would have been among the most open.
ECZ scooped this year’s newly added award called e-Governance Award, which was for institutions utilising Information Communication Technology (ICTs) for the better provision of information to the public.
But Chief Government Spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha has described the Report by MISA as inaccurate and biased.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said MISA was being insincere by choosing to overlook the many positive developments, policies and legislatives set by Government maintaining that Government had continued to undertake and enhance public access to information.
Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha said in a statement released to ZANIS today that it was clear from the tone of the report that MISA’s primary aim was malice and ill will against Government.
Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister noted that information was the primary product of any media organisation adding that the multiplicity of media houses was therefore an indication that information was not only available but also accessible with Government being a principal source.
He said efforts and measures taken by Government in information provision confirm its unwavering commitment to facilitating the growth of the media and information sector in the country for a well informed populace.
He said Government appreciated the important role information played in national development and that it would continue working and investing in the media industry to ensure an informed and enlightened society.