All the governments in South Asian countries must demonstrate their commitment to effectively implement right to information (RTI) laws, demanded experts at a programme yesterday.
The participants shared the best practices, with a particular focus on the provision of new remedies to protect fundamental rights, and on ensuring accountability of both public and private authorities, said a press release.
The regional meeting made an overall assessment of the status of implementation of the RTI legislation.
The Social Architects (TSA), Research Initiative Bangladesh (RIB) and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) hosted the two-day regional expert consultation meeting on RTI at a Dhaka hotel.
Dr Golam Rahman, chief information commissioner of Bangladesh Information Commission, said legislative measures are required to ensure a speedy disposal of appeals and complaints when the designated officers do not provide information about life and liberty matters within the statutory time limit of 48 hours.
Members and staff of information commissions, along with lawyers, journalists and civil society members from six countries -- Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia; and Kenya and South Africa -- participated in the meeting held from October 26 to October 27.
Dr Khurshida Begum Sayeed, information commissioner, Bangladesh, said developing a culture of transparency is crucial for the successful implementation of the RTI Act.
Dr Shamsul Bari, chairman of RIB, said RTI is a strong weapon to make public authorities more transparent and accountable.
Panelists urged the governments and information commissions to put in place accessible and disabled friendly access to information, digitalisation of public records and information management.
The participants also urged the government bodies and NGOs to collaborate for spreading awareness among people about RTI laws.