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Friday, 14 October 2016

GOVT ‘SLOW TO GIVE INFORMATION’

Swaziland’s foremost media freedom pressure group has called on the Swazi Government to implement a Freedom of Information Act.

It came after a survey revealed that Swaziland’s Government and agencies did not give information transparently.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Swaziland chapter has released its annual report on open and secretive public institutions in Swaziland.

MISA concluded, ‘Swaziland needs to accelerate the process of passing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Draft Bill of 2007 into law.’

The report was based on field research and website analyses that considered how transparent government departments and agencies were.

MISA reported that the 2016 report, in a similar vein to previous editions, offered some good signs but overall the picture was ‘less than flattering’.

In recognition of its good practice, the Swaziland Communications Commission was awarded with the ‘golden key’ for being the most open institution from the eight institutions that were surveyed.
Coming in last place was the Central Statistics Office, which was awarded the ‘golden padlock’ for being the most secretive of the institutions that were looked at.

MISA recommended Swaziland should adopt a Freedom of Information Bill which provided for access to information, openness, transparency and accountability. It added the Official Secrets Act of 1968 should be repealed because it curtailed freedom of information.

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