The Vietnam Journalists’ Association (VJA) has called for a stronger tool to keep the public well informed and ensure people’s right to access information.

Le Quoc Trung, VJA Standing Vice Chairman, made the statement at a workshop on Media and Access to Information held in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on December 17.

Trung emphasised that “the media holds high responsibility for people’s access to information so the media’s access to information is very important and there should be sanctions to ensure the provision of information for the media.”

For her part, UNDP Country Director Setsuko Yamazaki emphasised the need for Vietnam to promulgate a law on access to information.

“Now is a critical time to discuss the access to information because Vietnam is about to transit from a low-income to a middle-income country,” said the UNDP representative.

“Certainly the current process of drafting and discussing a draft law on access to information in Vietnam can be seen as a positive indication of the goodwill and determination of the Vietnamese Government to improve transparency in public sector,” said Yamazaki. “Speeding up the drafting process would bring the benefits to society sooner rather than later,” she said.

More than 40 editors in chief and representatives of relevant Government agencies joined the event, focusing on the need to promulgate the law as soon as possible.

They also called on law makers to give the media a special position in the bill with articles to broaden the media’s access to information as well as their responsibility for the people’s access to information./.