Information officers now mandatory

Source: Information officers now mandatory | Herald (Top Stories)

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter

Government has invoked the Freedom of Information Act and gave general directions in which individuals and entities could access information held by public bodies as envisaged by the enabling law, as the Second Republic seeks to give impetus to the media’s legislative reform agenda.

One of the primary objectives of the regulations is to provide citizens and media practitioners with the right to access information as espoused by the Constitution.

The regulations make it mandatory that there be information officers in all public and private entities that shall be responsible for handling information requests and disclosure of information to the public.

The regulations were published by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa in a Statutory Instrument of a Government Gazette published on Friday.

The information officer in each entity, who is either the head of that entity or a person appointed by the head, has up to 21 days to consider each request for information and can refuse to make all or some of the requested information public.

As a guiding principle, information officers are allowed to withhold information related to defence and national security, certain financial matters like proposed taxes in the pipeline, secret industrial processes, and diplomatic matters, among others.