General News of Thursday, 20 December 2018
Elvis Darko, a member of the Interim Steering Committee of the Media Coalition on the Right to Information Bill (RTI), has emphasized on the importance of having the RTI bill passed.
According to him, the RTI law will enable citizens, civil societies and even state agencies to access information even among themselves.
“We were in this country when we went for Americans to come and help us investigate the cause of fire in our markets, when the report was done and the Americans left, media went to the state agency for the report and they were told the report was a state secret, how can a report on the cause of fire in our markets be a state secret” he quizzed.
He said, the hoarding of such an information from the media does not only affect the substance of news put out by the media but also people who work in the market.
“ If such a report is said to be a state secret to the media then how can the market woman know whether the fire was caused by certain behaviors of theirs so they change “ he said
According to him, the RTI law will give provision on how to access information from state agencies, the duration an information will get to you after you have requested and the actions one can take when an information is denied.
“So the RTI law is not only about attacking politicians and corruption but social service delivery, it goes beyond fighting corruption” he added.
Elvis was addressing the media on Thursday on the Right to Information Bill
ABOUT THE RTI BILL
The Right to Information Bill is meant to ensure citizens of this country have access to official information from Public Offices on request and without request.
The RTI is implicit in the notion that the Ghanaian taxpayers need to have access to the Information concerning what Government does with their money and what government plans to do on their behalf.
The Bill is meant to put in effect Article 21(1) (f) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana which states that “All persons shall have the right to Information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society.
The bill was first drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003. It also spells out the establishment of the right to information commission to ensure independence of the review process.