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Regional News of Monday, 15 October 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Advocates call for the intensification of education on RTI bill

Panelists in focus group discussions on the Right to Information (RTI) bill had called for the intensification of education on the bill to get people to demand the passage of it into law.

The panelists observed that people are not making mass demand on the law makers to pass the bill because they have not been educated to know that the mass unemployment, poverty and denial of social services by duty bearers were the results of their denial of specific information which they require to overcome those social challenges facing them.

The group called on the media, civil society organizations and activists on the RTI to raise the tempo of their campaign and public education to get people to appreciate the effect of their being denied information on their personal development and the progress of the country.

The group regretted that the passage of the RTI bill into law had been reduced to a political campaign tool by the major political parties in the country since developments after elections proved that the political parties are not serious in seeing the bill passed into law.

The focus group discussion was organized by the Eastern Regional branch of the Right to Information Coalition at Koforidua with support from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) office in Africa.

Ms Mina Mensah, Head of Africa Office of CHRI in a remark explained that the current RTI bill before Parliament had seen a lot of amendments, but still had some clauses which need to be amended to ensure that the bill when passed into law becomes beneficial to the people.

She explained that if those clauses are not amended, they would render the bill useless.

She cited the case of clause 13 of the bill which she said in practice means almost all documents in the public service will become exempt information.

Ms Mensah called for the deletion of clause 13 from the bill and other clauses which could deny the people access to information.

Mr Gladstone Tetteh, the Executive Director of Cencord - Odumase Krobo urged the media and the civil society organizations to make the agenda for passing the RTI bill into law visible just like they did to get the Galamsey agenda to get the political and social attention needed.