Access to Information Focal Points Exist in 80% of Govt. Administrations, Sancharaki

Kabul (BNA) Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Sayed Fazel Sancharaki said the commission on access to information would soon get operational, BNA reported on Sunday.
According to the agency, addressing a conference to mark ‘International Day of Access to Information’, deputy MoIC said the law on access to information that was approved in the last month of 1396 stresses on forming a commission for access to information by selection committee led by the minister of information and culture.
He added to get the commission’s membership, the candidates would be first registered and after evaluations, fifteen people would be presented to president, five of which would be selected for the mentioned commission.
“The selection committee’s working process has been finalized and soon a list of fifteen people would be sent to president.”
Sancharaki asked the ministry of finance to allocate budget for independent commission of access to information so it start its activity in the center and other provinces if needed.  He said according to a survey launched by a Canadian organ, the law on access to information got the first position among many countries, adding but there were still many problems in its execution.  He added we have surveyed 56 administrations over the last two months and found  out there is a focal point to access to information in eighty percent of them, but unfortunately the capacities are low and the need for establishing a structure, capacity building and equipping these focal points were felt.  He said if capacity was not established and the delivering information organs are not institutionalized, we cannot apply law on access to information and it needs international community a civil entities’ cooperation.
During the conference, minister of economy Dr. Mustafa Mastour said we would follow specific objectives by 2030 which is sustainable development programs and that the access to information can strengthen these programs.
Acting head of access to information commission, Sayed Ekram Afzali said law on access to information should be implemented to reach sustainable development.
He added people should take part if the government wants a sustainable development.  He asked the government to soon establish the commission for access to information, adding the ministry of finance should also allocate budget for it.  UNESCO representative said the law on access to information supported freedoms, based on which, the citizens can take part in decision making.
During the conference, a number of civil society representatives also spoke and stressed on further easing of access to information to the countrymen particularly, media.