Proactive Disclosure of Info: Govt organs faring better than NGOs

Finds a TIB study based on RTI

In terms of proactive disclosure of information, based on the Right to Information Act, government organisations are doing better than NGOs, a Transparency International Bangladesh study has found.

The anti-graft watchdog, however, said the progress of both in proactive publishing of information on websites was not satisfactory.

The TIB collected information from 153 government organisations and 39 NGOs between August last year and January 2021.

The organisations were given scores in 25 indicators -- 19 on the extent of the information, four on accessibility, and two on compatibility. The organisations were categorised on the percentage of their scores -- a 0 to 33 percent score is "alarming", 34 to 66 percent "inadequate", and 67 percent and above is "satisfactory".

Findings of the study -- Proactive Disclosure of Information by Government Institutions and NGOs on the Basis of Right to Information Act: An Assessment – was unveiled at a webinar yesterday.

The websites of most government organisations received relatively better scores than that of NGOs, said TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman during the programme.

The TIB also ranked the organisations in a list. The best scoring NGO was 21st in the ranking but behind 123 organisations.

Overall, only about 8.5 percent of the sampled government institutions were categorised as alarming.

However, 94.9 percent of the NGOs were of alarming category.

"In the case of NGOs, there is still a lack of disclosure of relevant information in accordance with the laws and regulations," Iftekharuzzaman said.

No NGO got satisfactory scores in the extent of information they provided whereas different types of government organisations had satisfactory scores, Iftekhar added.

Scores of all types of government agencies regarding compatibility of information were inadequate; while the NGOs' scores were alarming, said the TIB study.

Most NGO websites do not have all types of information in accordance with the Right to Information Act and Proactive Information Disclosure Guidelines. Some do not have up-to-date information or the date of last update. Most websites are in English only.

However, information of some NGOs has been published in Bangla.

The study also said about seven percent of the organisations did not have websites.

According to the study, most government organisations gave satisfactory organisational and service information but their disclosure of information on activities and decision-making was alarming.

Most NGOs disclosure of information on organisation, activities, decision, and service was alarming.

The government organisations in the study included ministries, departments, the Prime Minister's Office; departmental institutions affiliated to the ministry, constitutional and statutory institutions, and other institutions like agencies, trusts, foundations, and public companies.

And of the NGOs, 44 percent were international and 66 local. At least 22.2 percent of the NGOs were providing only services, 15.6 percent were doing advocacies, and 62.2 percent were doing both activities.

In the ranking, the Ministry of Food, the Ministry of Jute and Textiles and the Ministry of Water Resources were at the top, scoring 84 percent.

The Coastal Association for Social Transformation, a local NGO, was the top scoring NGO with 44 percent.

In its 11-point recommendations, the TIB said the authorities concerned need to formulate their own proactive information disclosure and dissemination guidelines and publish them on the websites; they need to monitor to ensure effective implementation of the guidelines.

It also recommended training to enhance the technical skills of employees in website management.


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