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Access to information can expose corrupt figures: Danish

Access to information can expose corrupt figures: Danish

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Oct 07, 2017 - 20:01

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Second Vice President Sarwar Danish on Saturday said widespread corruption in government departments and the fear of being exposed were among obstacles to the access to information.

Danish was addressing ‘Second Media National Conference’ in Kabul. The conference is aimed at strengthening reporting and good governance.

The VP said if access to information, especially to government documents, was facilitated then graft-tainted figures would be exposed soon.

He said one thing that still guaranteed rights of individuals in today’s worldinfo-icon was access to information -- which was also considered one of the essential rights of citizens.

“In a country like Afghanistaninfo-icon, unfortunately corruption is one of the most serious challenges in the way of governing. Giving the public access to information can be one of the most effective ways to fight corruption.”

He said the Afghanistan government was doing its best to facilitate people’s access to information, but serious challenges which remained in this way should be identified and resolved.

He also said the administration structure in Afghanistan was old. “Apparently our organizations seem to be based on new governance, but the mindset of officials is still trapped in past and they don’t even know how to place their information and documents at a citizen’s disposal based on the Law of Access to Information.”

He said corruption and fear of being exposed was another hurdle in the way of access to information: “Everyone knows, if access to information especially to government documents is facilitated, corrupt figures will be revealed very soon,” he said.

Sayed Aqa Fazil Sancharaki, the information and culture deputy minister for publication, also spoke on the occasion and said the government was not owner of information, but only a keeper and real possessors were media outlets and people.

“In good governance, decisions aren’t taken behind closed doors but are made in front of people’s eyes and they are given participation in taking decisions and institutions are responsible to provide information to applicants.”

Today’s conference was organized by the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).

Timor Sharaan, policy and professional deputy head at IDLG, said good governance also meant facilitating media outlets and civil societyinfo-icon in their investigative reports

He said relations with reporters and civil society shouldn’t be short-term or symbolic, but should be a long-term, friendly, and strategic “because the more the government, media outlets, and civil society come closer, more information is shared on a daily basis.”

sns/ma

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