Regional News of Sunday, 10 March 2013
The Central Regional Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI), has joined others calling on parliamentarians to fast track the passage of the RTI to ensure transparency and accountability in public affairs.
The group noted that access to information was a fundamental human right guaranteed under the 1992 constitution, which gives all persons living in Ghana freedom to access information in the custody of public bodies and categories of private bodies.
These were contained in a communiqué, issued and signed by Mrs Baaba Brew Fleischer, Central Regional RTI Coordinator at the weekend.
It was issued at the end of a focus group discussion organized by the Coalition for stakeholders to educate and help them advocate the passage of the Bill.
The meeting, which was attended by the media, women’s group, regional association of teachers, religious leaders and assembly members in Cape Coast, also called for a review of exemptions in the RTI Bill to bring it in line with international best practices.
“The Ghana Right to Information Bill 2010 put the Bill before Parliament on February 5, 2010 and the Bill was referred to the parliamentary select joint committee on communications and constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs for examination”, the Communiqué stated.
It therefore posed some questions such as ‘where is the RTI? What is keeping the RTI from being passed? Do our law makers really want us to know?
The Coalition commended the efforts of the joint committee in ensuring public engagement and exchange of ideas on the Bill and emphasized that a good bill was more desirable than a rushed and ‘mutilated’ one passed into law that serves to hinder the public’s right to know.
Mrs Fleischer said it was therefore necessary to take into account the views of the public and civil society to ensure Ghana’s RTI law meets international norms and standards, serves the aspirations of the Ghanaian society as clearly written in Ghana’s Constitution.