Malawi

Name of law: Act No. 13 of 2017 First adopted: 2017 Last modified: n/a RTI Rating last updated: 2017-04

Introduction

Despite some shortcomings, Malawian RTI law is relatively strong compared to other RTI laws. It is broad in scope, applying to all three branches of government, including all organs of the executive, as well as private entities that carry out public functions. The procedures for making and responding to requests are adequate, but could be improved, for example by not requiring reasons to be given for requests, by providing requesters with a receipt and by tightening up the time limits for responding. Although most of the exceptions protect legitimate interests and are harm-tested, there is no public interest override or clause providing for the RTI law to override exceptions found in other laws, although both of these features were in draft laws. Appeals go to a relatively independent Human Rights Commission, although it lacks the power to make binding decisions. There are sanctions for obstructing access, as well as protections for good faith disclosures, and a strong set of promotional measures.

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