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Pakistan passes Freedom of Information Ordinance, APP made autonomous

Pakistan has passed a Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002 that seeks to ensure improved access to public records and public accountability besides approving independence and autonomy for the state-owned new agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

The federal Cabinet met on Saturday and approved the Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002, which requires each public body to ensure that all records are kept properly and the public provided access to them.

According to officials, the Cabinet chaired by President Pervez Musharraf also approved the conversion of the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) into an autonomous corporation to streamline, improve and enlarge it as a public information medium.

Under the new structure, a Board of Directors would manage APP with five members each from the public and private sector. The Secretary of Pakistan’s Information department would chair the Board, which would also include media professionals, academics and President of CPNE, the appex body of Pakistan Newspaper management.

The acts and subordinate legislation, such as rules and regulations, notifications, by-laws, manuals would be duly published later, the officials said.