Call to stop culture of secrecy in information dissemination | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 10, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 10, 2010

Call to stop culture of secrecy in information dissemination

Speakers at a consultation meeting hoped that the Right to Information (RTI) Act would build informed citizens and ensure transparency in information dissemination process to make existing democratic norms more functional.
They stressed the need for coordinated efforts at individual and institutional levels to stop culture of secrecy in information dissemination.
The RTI Act overrides the Official Secrets Act and similar laws and rules and strikes at the heart of the century-old practices in the government offices and public establishments.
Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) organised the meeting supported by USAID Progoti in Barisal yesterday.
Government officials, development workers and rights activists, journalists, academics and members of the civil society took part in the open discussion, moderated by Farid Hossain, Bureau Chief of Associated Press (AP).
Deputy Commissioner of Barisal SM Arif-ur-Rahman said enforcement of the RTI Act will help government officials to be more accountable to the people.
“The main job of the government officials is to serve the people and they can provide better services through proper use of the RTI Act,” he said.
The speakers urged to preserve information accurately so that people can bring social and economic changes.
Legal expert MM Kabir in his keynote presentation pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of the law and limitations of the Information Commission.
Hasibur Rahman, executive director of MRDI, said civil society organisations must act as a bridge to elicit information using the act to serve the interests of poor and marginalised people.
If civil societies are active, the RTI Act will be a useful instrument to ensure social justice, he opined.

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