General News of Saturday, 6 May 2017
A Deputy Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has reminded that Right to Information Bill, when passed, will benefit the general public and is not focused on press freedom.
He noted that the law will seek to provide members of the public with information to empower them towards improved participation in the democratic process.
“Freedom of the Press is enshrined in Article 12 of the constitution and the right to free media is not indicted. The right to free media is not hindered in any way in the absence of the law. Neither will its passage mean the Ghanaian media will be necessarily free or independent than it is today,” Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah, also the Member of Parliament for Ofoase-Ayirebi noted in an interview on GTV.
“A lot of people think that this Bill will open the gate for some kind of secret information to pop up without much work. Instead, the law, if passed, will provide all persons in Ghana a procedure by which they can access the already existent Right to Information as provided in Article 21(1) (f) of the constitution,” he explained.
He also stated government is working towards improving the already existing drafts to build stronger Public Affairs Units in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to deliver on information requests that will come when the new Bill is passed into law.
The RTI Bill was drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was not presented to Parliament.
The first attempt at enacting the law on the right to information was made when the Bill was presented to Parliament on February 5, 2010.
The Attorney-General on June 25, The Attorney General on June 25, 2015, moved the current incarnation of the Bill for the second reading which is currently awaiting passage in Parliament.