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General News of Thursday, 28 March 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

RTI law not just about fighting corruption – Ayariga

Former Information Minister and Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, has rejected suggestions that making the Information Minister responsible for the implementation of the Right to Information Law will jeopardize the credibility of the law.

He argued that the RTI Law was envisioned for much more than just fighting corruption.

Parliament finally passed the RTI Bill into law on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, after several policy changes and amendments. Before the Bill was passed, the government changed the Minister responsible from the Attorney General to the Information Minister.

The passage of the Bill gave substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society.”

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu criticised the move describing it as a major shortfall.

But speaking to Citi News, Mr. Ayariga said the change didn’t weaken the law.

“You can’t say that because it is being moved from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General to the Information Ministry then we are weakening it,” he stated in a Citi News interview.

“When we do that, we are also creating a problem. We are creating the impression that information related issues are about fighting corruption. I am saying that it is only in a minority of cases that accessing information is to enable you to fight corruption.”

Haruna Iddrisu in his criticism said the shift “waters down the policy credibility of the Right to Information.”

“I believe that the government has already lost it. Lost it because the shepherding minister has been reduced to the Ministry of Information. Right to Information is not about propaganda or government information or government misinformation. It is about the right of access to information to aid in exposure.”