Remarks of AIC Chairperson on inaugurations of Access to Information (ATI) online system
Government Media & Information Center (GMIC), Kabul Afghanistan
2nd July 2020
Welcome to the inauguration ceremony of the Access to Information (ATI) online system.
I am glad that today we are witnessing the launching ceremony of an important tool for good governance and access to information which is stipulated in Article 50th of the Afghan Constitution and Access to Information Law, which will ensure maximum transparency and accountability in all government institutions.
It is almost impossible to fight corruption without timely access to information and ensuring transparency and accountability in government entities. However, the step we are taking today is not just launching an online system but rather strengthening public access to government “owned” information, breaking the culture of secrecy and also motivating government entities to do more of a proactive disclosure of information with public and media sector.
The system in question has the capacity of handling more than 400 requests per second, which will expedite the number of request.
It is worth mentioning that with the financial support of DFID, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) has played a vital role in making this system up and running, we would like to thank their technical team for their continued support. We would also like to thank the technical team of Net Links Company who developed the system.
Allow me to share some key goal dos this system:
- protection and stability of information
-Utilizing new technology and preventing a time-consuming paper system
- Increasing the level of accountability of government institutions
- Realizing the role of ATI as a keyword toward a good governance
In order to increase public social, economical, cultural and political participation in government policy making and implementation of governance and development programs, ATI is considered one of the important tools to ensure that. Therefore, I am confident to say that the lack of information sharing and culture of secrecy is actually poising democracy, while, openness and proactive disclosure and easy access of information is the oxygen of democracy.
Therefore, the clear message of today's gathering to all government institutions, from the presidency to the ministries, districts and even the councils that are at the village level, is that:
1- We have no choice without being accountable for the demands of the people – there is no other option, let’s start it now.
2- Ending the excuses of ministries and departments regarding communication problems
3- Be accountable or step down
4- The existence of privacy can only be a factor in the presence of corruption - one of the main reasons why Afghanistan is on the list of the most corrupted countries is lack of access to information and confidentiality.
5- Creating a reliable mechanism between the institutions and the Access to Information Commission (AIC)
6- The basic principle of access to information should be done proactively, just chanting slogans, formulating laws and establishing commission are not enough, and they should actually show their institution commitment in practice .
AIC in 1397
The Access to Information Commission was established in late 1397 and was lifted alone in a bad situation, but fortunately today we are in a good situation due to the efforts of our colleagues and members of the Commission.
In 1398 around 50 complaints were filed regarding contracts and financial sectors of a total of 24 departments, about 674 requests for information have been made, of which only two have been rejected and the rest have been answered
Recommendations of AIC
1- So for the Public Information Officers (PIOs) should be acountable through this system
2- One of the main conditions for attending the cabinet and government institutions must be committed and confident people to ATI law right to access to information
3- AIC has delivered its messages to the President and the Second Vice President to take part in today’s ceremony, and I hope that their non-participation does not mean that they are not committed.
4- AIC shall subsequently monitor the system and we call on all departments to start preparing and building capacity from now on.
5- We call on international community to make access to information a condition of their assistance and donation, and they must have serious oversight in this regard.