Implementation of Right to Information

right-to-informationThe United States is sharing its experience with Sri Lanka in implementing the recently passed Right to Information Act which gives access to all citizens of Sri Lanka to obtain information on Government and State institutions.

Melanie Ann Pustay, the Director of the Office of Information Policy of the United States Department of Justice, yesterday conducted a special lecture at the Department of Government Information in Colombo on the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) in Sri Lanka.

The lecture, themed ‘Implementation of Right to Information at the grassroots level and the benefits received by the citizen’ was joined by the RTI committee members in Sri Lanka and journalists representing local and foreign media.

Pustay revealed the way in which the RTI was implemented and practiced for the last five decades in the US and encouraged Sri Lanka to go forward with the recently passed world’s seventh best RTI Act and also the second best such Act in South Asia.

The official said it was critical to have robust training for the state sector and each Ministry should have special training in releasing information so everyone knew their role. Reassessing what works and what does not work periodically is vital in the successful implementation of the RTI, she added.

The RTI Bill, which was passed in Parliament on 24 June, calls for the establishment of the ‘Right to Information Commission’ which will monitor the performance of public authorities and information officers. However, the RTI Commission is not fully constituted as the appointments of members to the five-member Commission are not yet complete.(Daily FT)

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