Rectify Anomalies In The RTI Bill – NGO
Mrs Mena Mensah, Regional Coordinator, Africa office of the Commonwealth Human Right Initiative (CHRI), a Non-Governmental Organisation that advocates the passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI), said the bill had many challenges which needed to be amended before it was passed.
She expressed worry that Cabinet claimed it had approve the bill yet to be put before Parliament, but its content and inputs made were still not known to the public, especially civil society organization which were masterminding the passage of the bill.
Mrs Mensah was speaking at a training workshop on the RTI organized by CHRI in collaboration with Mission of Hope Society (NGO) and sponsored by Open Society Institute (OSI), a civil society organization.
Attended by assembly members, civil society organizations, media practitioners and some students from tertiary institution, the workshop was also aimed to create awareness on citizens’ right to information and building a constituency committed to seeking information based on provision in existing laws.
Mrs Mensah explained that the drafted RTI bill had exempted many public office holders and private institutions from giving out information, which needed to be considered.
She said in March 2012, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, held a review meeting at which it was decided that certain key issues within the bill needed to be revisited or improved upon in order to bring it in conformity with international Human Right standards and best practices.
Mrs Mensah noted with concern that civil society organizations had not gain access to the content of the RTI bill which Cabinet claimed it had approved to ascertain whether those key issues identified by the Committee had been considered.
She recommended that the Cabinet-approved bill ought to be made public for civil society organizations, NGOs and concerned individuals and groups to know the content and make necessary meaningful contributions.
Mrs Mensah explained that the passage of the RTI would facilitate accelerated national development as Ghana’s choice of democracy entailed active participation by all and sundry, adding that it was only when citizens were well informed that they could give meaningful contributions for national development.