Posted: Sunday 23rd February 2014 at 13:30 pm

Coalition calls for review of RTI Bill

The Right to Information Coalition has called for a review of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill which has been pending before Parliament over the past 11 years.

The Coalition said the Bill, if passed into law in its present state, would not only curtail access to information but also make mockery of Ghana’s democratic credentials.

It said efforts over the years to get Parliament to review the Bill and make the necessary amendments had not yielded the desired result.

The appeal was made in Accra during a day’s workshop for media professionals on the RTI Bill which brought together news editors, reporters, producers and presenters from both the public and private media.

Mr Akoto Ampaw, member of the National Media Commission, said the passage of the RTI Bill would transform the nation, declaring that “the delay in the passage of the Bill had stretched the people which could create fatigue, but the media must not give up on its efforts to ensure its passage”.

He said many sections of the current Bill were in contravention of article 21 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, and if passed into law would obstruct access to information adding that the exemption of the office of the President and Cabinet was also not good.

Mr Raymond Ablorh, member of the Coalition, said the life blood of democracy was information and without it the people could not make informed choices.

Mina Mensah, Regional Coordinator of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, called for the creation of the office of a commissioner for the RTI and fix time period for the RTI Bill to become operational.

She said the revised Bill should cover private institutions that also received funds from the state and those whose activities were directly affecting the public.

She said traditional rulers should also be covered by the Bill since they received royalties for landed resources and sometimes funds for developmental and educational projects.

Mr Aarni Kuoppanmaki, of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), lauded the 1992 Constitution of Ghana for enshrining in it the right to information.

He said some advanced democracies like Germany had their constitutions silent on the right to information; however, the RTI laws had been passed to safe- guide information flow to the public.

Caption:

1687, 1678 – The Panelist at the workshop from left to right: Mr Raymond Ablorh member of the Coalition, Mr Aarni Kuoppanmaki, GIZ, Mr Akoto Ampaw, NMC and Mina Mensah, Regional Coordinator of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

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