People's right to information | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 29, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:54 AM, September 29, 2016


People's right to information

Nothing should be done to circumvent it

As we observe International Right to Information Day, it is pleasing to know that 76,043 people have sought information from different organisations since 2010 using the Right to Information Act, 2009. What is also good news is that 96 percent of those who had asked for information were served according to the Chief Information Commissioner. We welcome such positive developments in ensuring transparency and accountability in governance and hope to see the law used in ways that would reduce corruption.

Democracy demands transparency and accountability in governance. Without information, how else can people have the supreme power of governance be vested in them, which is the essence of democracy? It requires the free flow of information, as otherwise, people remain unaware of what is being done right and wrong, and how and what to set right. Thus, the RTI act, which gives citizens access to information in regards to the functioning of various state bodies, should be used as an instrument by people in pursuit of instituting their democratic rights, and exercised as a democratic right, in itself, often and effectively.

In support of people's right to information, the authorities should also assist people in getting informed in every possible way and, to that end, provide them with necessary information, particularly information which concerns the workings of governance, hassle free. In addition, they should refrain from formulating laws and guidelines contradicting the act and what it aims to achieve, such as the national broadcasting policy, article 57, and the proposed digital security act, as suggested by rights groups, experts and civil society.

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