The Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is calling for renewed commitment from the State and citizenry to ensure the transformative impact of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Launching the 2019 Implementation Assessment of the RIT Act in Sri Lanka, TISL noted that whilst Sri Lanka ranks fourth in the Global RIT Rating, which is a reflection of the strength of the RTI Act, the current implementation of the RTI Act has yielded a mid-range (yellow) grade for the country.
The objective of the TISL RTI Assessment was to gauge the implementation of the RTI Act, focusing on three areas; Proactive disclosure, Institutional measures and Processing of requests. Of the three areas assessed, Sri Lanka has scored red for proactive disclosure, yellow for institutional measures and yellow for the processing of requests.
The approach for the assessment was adopted from the ‘Freedom of Information Advocates Network’ (FOIAnet), which is an international network working to promote RTI. FOIAnet uses a colour grading system and numerical scoring to rate a country’s RTI implementation. The colour scoring ranges from; Red (needs significant improvement), Yellow (needs some improvement), and Green (needs little improvement).
Speaking on the findings of the assessment, TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said: “These findings resonate with TISL’s RTI work across the country. Issues such as failures in the proactive disclosure of information require the urgent attention of the state, as it holds the key to tackling corruption.”
Obeyesekere added: “It is noteworthy that public institutions at the district and divisional administrative levels have performed better than those at national level. This demonstrates a more responsive State at the primary point of citizen interaction, which can spur a bottom up drive to improve RTI implementation.”
The full report can be downloaded from www.tisrilanka.org/rtia.