By Catherine Adjeley Aubyn
Government has been asked to incorporate maximum disclosure of information clauses into the Right to Information Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
The Right to Information (RTI) Coalition, which made the proposal, explains that such provisions would reflect the tenets of current democratic dispensation of the Ghanaian society.
The call was made at a training workshop for Requestors on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill in Accra organised by the Secretariat of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The CHRI Secretariat plays host to the RTI Coalition.
The Requestors were 15 in number and comprised of three non-literates, three gender activists, three disabled person, three tertiary students and three journalists.
Addressing the Requestors, Ms Mina Mensah, Regional Co-ordinator, CHRI, expatiates that the RTI Law will regulate the way information is accessed, particularly that which is held by Government in all types of storage and retrieval systems.
Ms Mina says the RTI Law will help curb corruption, reduce speculations, anxieties and falsehoods, and contribute to the promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability.
”The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution and is recognised by the international conventions on human rights. Article 21(1) states that all persons have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society,” she said.
Mrs Ugonna Ukaigwe, Project Coordinator, RTI Coalition, took the Requestors through a video documentary and discussion session on how some communities in South Africa have used the right to information to demand their right to shelter and water.
Mrs Ukaigwe urged the Requestors to be bold to seek information from public institutions as every citizen is guaranteed that right under the Constitution.