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Access to Info Law needs review: IWA

Access to Info Law needs review: IWA

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Dec 01, 2014 - 18:32

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Integrity Watch Afghanistaninfo-icon (IWA) on Monday welcomed the ratification of the Access to Information Law, but said the measure needed a serious review.

Having 6 chapters and 32 articles, the bill was ratified by the Afghan parliament in June this year and signed into law by President Ashraf Ghani last night.

Based on the new law, governmental and non-governmental agencies are required to present accurate information to the media.

Sayed Ikram Afzali, the IWA chief executive, told a press conference here the law needed to be based on international standards and experience.

Terms like national security and national interest, he said, were ambiguous and needed clarifications to avoid misuse by authorities or their refusal to share information.

“Unfortunately, the parliament did not pay attention to the recommendations of civil societyinfo-icon and media groups. That is why today we have a weak law,” he remarked.

If properly implemented, the law could bring about transparency, accountability and good governance, he concluded.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists and Afghanistan Free Journalists Association also expressed their dissatisfaction with the law and asked the parliament for a revision.

Based on the law, an access to information commission will be formed with nine representatives from the National Directorate of Security, Independent Human Rights Commission, lawyers union, journalists bodies and ministries of information, communications and information technology and foreign affairs.

hg/mud

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