Our programme officer Nompilo Simanje talks about how access to information in the public interest is very important, particularly during a pandemic or natural disasters, as this assists citizens and the nation at large, to make informed decisions about their right to life and the right to health.
Journalists, together with other essential priority groups, are frontline workers that need to be prioritised as well given the critical role they play in keeping the nation informed on developments and measures the government is taking to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of the recent enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and the gazetting of the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill, it is imperative to explore the intended benefits of such legal instruments to the broader generality of Zimbabwe’s society.
“Corruption related to PPE … is actually murder because if health workers work without PPE, we’re risking their lives. And that also risks the lives of the people they serve.”
The centrality of access to information in this pandemic cannot be overlooked, in particular, as it relates to timeliness, relevance and adequacy of information.
Internet accessibility in Zimbabwe generally remains low, mainly because of limited infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, where most Zimbabweans are located.
This year’s International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) comes at a pivotal moment in Zimbabwe following the enactment of the country’s Freedom of Information Act.