The Chief Executive: People Are the Main Owner of Information Rather than the Government

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, at the conference of National Access to Information Strategy, said that people are the main owner of information and that the government has responsibility for maintaining it, not concealing it.

The Chief Executive, who spoke at this conference, said information access should not be based on a bureaucratic and complex hierarchy. This process should be easy and simple.

Dr. Abdullah stated: "In a country where corruption is raging, access to information is a serious and public necessity. People should consider it as part of their daily needs and their legal rights.”

The Chief Executive said that the past method for limiting information is not in compliance with the community's requirements and today's conditions. For easy access to information, citizens’ mindset and public officials’ behavior should be changed.

Then, Sayed Ikram Afzali, chairman of Oversight Commission on Access to Information said that the commission has a strategic approach to the law on access to information and has developed the national access to information strategy.

Mr. Afzali praised the full support of the Chief Executive for free access of citizens to information and said the commission still expects the Chief Executive to cooperate with them in implementation of this strategy, as in the past.

Dr. Abdullah declared the government's support for the new strategy of the commission and said that trust of the people would be damaged when government officials prevent access to information. They are responsible for providing the Afghan citizens with classified and necessary information.

Dr. Abdullah noted that people should be convinced that the issue would be structurally and fundamentally addressed rather than symbolically.

The Chief Executive added that access to information in the capital is better than the provinces, and in most provinces, the importance and necessity of access to information is not still understood so further work needs to be done in this respect.

The Chief Executive emphasized that access to information is the legal right of all Afghan citizens, and in this regard, the imperious behavior of government officials with the people is not acceptable for leadership of the government.

Dr. Abdullah promised the officials of Oversight Commission on Access to Information to cooperate with them in implementation of this strategy and access to information.