Utilise RTI Act to get info from intelligence agencies | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 17, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 17, 2011

Utilise RTI Act to get info from intelligence agencies

Speakers urge journalists

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Saikat Datta, extreme right, assistant editor, Outlook Magazine of India, gives a presentation at a roundtable discussion in a city hotel yesterday. (From left) Ralph Frammolino, former Los Angles Times reporter; Farid Hossain, bureau chief, Associated Press Bangladesh; and Hasibur Rahman, executive director, Management and Resources Development Initiative; were present. Photo: Courtesy

Legal experts emphasise persistent and careful use of Right to Information Act as the implementing authorities are bureaucrats
Right to Information (RTI) Act should be utilised to ensure people's right to information from the country's intelligence agencies which has a tradition of maintaining secrecy, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.
“We should put special focus on using Right to Information Act to get information from intelligence agencies as much as possible.
“It would be a move against the typical tradition of secrecy strictly nurtured by the agencies,” said Saikat Datta, assistant editor of Outlook Magazine, India.
Except for exemptions for the agencies in RTI Act, he said, none can prevent people from enjoying his or her right to information involving human rights and corruption.
The discussion titled “Use of the RTI Act by Journalists: Lessons from international experience”, aimed at introducing journalist with the effectiveness of RTI Act, was held at Hotel La Vinci in the city.
It was organised by Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) in cooperation with CIDA-WBI governance programme in Bangladesh.
Citing examples of reports made by Indian journalists using laws in his country, he said, “You can use RTI not only to create a story, but also to see through the story to its logical conclusion.”
Speaking at the discussion, legal experts repeatedly emphasised on persistent and careful use of law as the implementing authorities are bureaucrats who always look for legal loopholes and prefer taking shelter under official secrecy act.
Former Los Angeles Times reporter Ralph Frammolino and MRDI Executive Director Hasibur Rahman Mukur attended the discussion, moderated by Associated Press Bureau Chief Farid Hossain.

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