Information access commission calls for reforms in govt

KABUL (Tolo News): The Access to Information Commission said that there is a dire need for fundamental reforms in Afghanistan’s state institutions. The commission also said that Afghanistan’s Supreme Court and the Central Bank of Afghanistan have the most closed institutions in terms of providing information to the media.
The commission said that Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) were witnessed limiting access to information over the past one year. The Access to Information Commission, while acknowledging access to information as the fundamental right of the people and the media, said that if the necessary reforms are not made in a number of institutions as soon as possible, the access to information in these institutions will become more endangered.
“There are serious problems in the Ministry of Interior—the spokesman is not prepared to give an interview, they are not accountable to the people and the journalists. A similar issue is with the Ministry of Defense and other departments—we are not satisfied with this situation—if the leader of these institutions are not taking responsibility, then they should ask their spokesman to be responsive,” said Ainuddin Bahaduri, the head of the Access to Information Commission. The Access to Information Commission has considered the non-categorization of information in institutions as another challenge to sharing information.
“There is a lack of a clear mechanism for classifying information in the institutions. Based on the law, the institutions are responsible for providing–and organizing–the information,” said Ainuddin Bahaduri, the head of the Access to Information Commission. Meanwhile, a number of journalists have said that the lack of proper access to government information has limited their field of work.
“With the passage of time, the security agencies become more closed. In the past, the security officials were coming from the security agencies and were briefing the media and the journalists—but now we hardly manage to talk to a spokesman for a month,” said Jawad Darwish, a journalist. “When a journalist is not able to ask for information for a specific reason, this will have a negative impact on his work,” said Mirwais Salamzoi, a journalist in Kabul.
Ordinary Afghans also insist that the government institutions are obliged to cooperate with the journalists and media about the information. “The information which is accessible to the government should be available to the public too,” said a resident in Kabul, Fahima Sulaimani. The Access to Information Commission has said that the demand for information through this commission has increased. The commission said that in the past year it has registered 151 complaints against various government agencies for not providing the information.

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The Frontier Post

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