Journalists call for Freedom of Information Law

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- The Mozambican branch of the regional press freedom body MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa), says it is formulating a draft legislation on free access to State information.
MISA-Mozambique chairperson, Salomao Moyana, said in Maputo Thursday, he believed the country's parliament would be willing to pass the law.
Speaking during commemorations of the World Press Freedom Day, he said that State institutions should be under a legal obligation to make information of public interest available to the mass media.
"What happens is that civil servants refuse to provide certain information that is of public interest.
Sometimes they claim it's a State secret, even when it isn't," Moyana charged.
He claimed that public office holders often took refuge under the official secrecy Act to deny information to the media.
Other speakers at the occasion agreed with Moyana, and also expressed concern over the low level of training of Mozambican journalists, and the poor working conditions of the profession.
While there was agreement that press freedom exists in Mozambique, it was argued that the freedom had not been used to the full either by journalists or by the public.
The speakers called for proper funding of media houses and better working conditions for journalists to safeguard media independence.

03 may 2001 20:20:00

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