The Right To Information is not respected enough

The Right To Information is not respected enough

The Right To Information  Act(RTI) is a landmark piece of legislation that was enacted in 2016 with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability in government. The Act guarantees citizens the right to access information held by public authorities and requires these authorities to proactively disclose certain categories of information to the public.

However, a 2017 study by Verité Research found that the majority of public authorities in Sri Lanka are not complying with their obligations under the RTI Act. The study found that 75% of public authorities scored within the “moderately unsatisfactory” band, and 5% scored “unsatisfactory”. Only 20% of public authorities scored in the “moderately satisfactory” band. No authority scored “satisfactory” or “highly satisfactory”. And a recent probe by Lanka Newsline  found that the situation has not changed very much

The recent Newsline probe  found that the main reason for the poor compliance with the RTI Act is the unwillingness of officials in addition, the following reasons were identified :

  • Lack of awareness of the Act among public officials.
  • Lack of resources and training to implement the Act.
  • Lack of political will to promote transparency and accountability.
The poor implementation of the RTI Act is a major setback for the fight against corruption and for the promotion of good governance in Sri Lanka. It is essential that the government take steps to address the problems that have been identified in the Verité Research study.
Prominent right-to-information activist Gamini Punchihewa pointed out a number said that above all  a political environment that is supportive of transparency and accountability needs to be created.

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