Home / Opinion and Issues/ Right to Information Law is a work-in-progress

Right to Information Law is a work-in-progress


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 9 February 2018 00:00


The 3rd of February marked the first year of the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) law in Sri Lanka. The law enables citizens of Sri Lanka to access information from public authorities for their own requirements as well as in the public interest.

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) as an advocate of the RTI law in Sri Lanka, initiated a process to gather data from the main ministries to ascertain the progress made in the past year. Based on the data received from the 22 ministries that responded to the request, it is noted that 88% of the RTI requests received have been responded to or are being processed, while 12% have been rejected. As per the RTI process, if a request is rejected, an appeal can be made to the designated officer in the relevant authority, failing which, an appeal could be made to the RTI Commission. In this regard, the RTI Commission had received 485 appeals as at 26 January, 2018.

The Ministry of Education has received the most number of RTI requests with an average of 35 RTI requests per month. The Ministry of Public Administration and Management received 30 RTI requests per month followed by the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, which is the nodal ministry for implementation for RTI in Sri Lanka (Ref Table 1).

The highest amount of RTI requests to the ministries have been made from the Colombo, Gampaha, and Kandy Districts, while the least number of requests have been from the Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Batticaloa Districts (Ref Table 2).

A law such as the RTI brings about fundamental changes to the values and attitudes of people and its successful implementation requires a change in the mindset of public authorities and citizens, a change in the systems of managing and sharing information, and continuous awareness of training of both public officials and the public.

While this data from the main ministries indicates that there is progress, there is still a long way to go.  Countries which have implemented RTI law before Sri Lanka are still facing challenges in getting the message across and getting both officials and citizens to use the RTI. The nodal Ministry for RTI Implementation, the RTI Commission, public authorities, media, and civil society organisations have to continue to build awareness and provide support on all fronts for the successful implementation of the RTI. It is important that we do not lose hope but be encouraged by the gradual progress that is being made in Sri Lanka.


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

The country needs more Ironmen (and women)

Monday, 26 February 2018

Commendation to Yasas, Julian and the team for a world class event that will have far-reaching positives for Brand Sri Lanka.


Failure at Local Elections: Inability of the Govt. to care for needs of the people

Monday, 26 February 2018

The purpose of this article is to discuss the causes of the massive failure of the Government at the local government elections held on 10 February 2018 and their impact on the economy.


Lessons from LG ElectionsPart 1 Number-twisting game may be self-pleasing but not in accord with eco

Monday, 26 February 2018

The local government elections that concluded on 10 February 2018 have shaken the ruling United National Party(UNP)to its foundation.


Tamil actor Kamal Haasan stars in new role as political leader

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Srinivasan Kamal Haasan is one of India’s foremost film actors. Known popularly as Kamal, the talented and versatile thespian has not only excelled as an actor onscreen, but has successfully engaged in other cinematic spheres too. The multi-faceted


Columnists More