The Right to Information (RTI) law is a very potent tool for fighting corruption and activating spirited participation of the masses in governance, Justice (Rtd) Kwesi A. Ofori Atta, the Board Chairman of the RTI Commission (RTIC), has said.
He said the RTI law had become a cardinal yardstick for achieving transparency in governance and public discourse and a tool for promoting democracy and good governance.
Justice (rtd) Atta, who said this in Wa during a stakeholders’ forum on the RTI law, indicated that: “This law has been made for all of us and everybody can take advantage of it.”
Heads of public and private institutions, Civil Society Organisations, Persons with Disabilities as well as students, attended the forum on the topic: “Your Right to Access Information and the Role of the Right to Information Commission Under Act 989.”
It formed part of the efforts of the RTIC to educate the public on the provisions of the RTI law and how they could demand their right to information under the Act.
“If this law will help us bring down corruption or even expose corruption and promote transparency, all of us must participate.
“Like a double-edged sword, the RTI has the potency to create an avenue for transparency and accountability that engulfs every individual and entity.
So, the government, state authorities and entities are brought under the microscope of scrutiny by affording people the chance to ask for information”, he added.
He said all persons and stakeholders in Ghana had the responsibility of ensuring the successful implementation of the RTI Act 2019 (Act 989).
Mr Yaw Sarpong Boateng, Esq., the Executive Secretary of the RTIC, in a presentation on the topic, encouraged the public to take advantage of the RTI law to demand information from public institutions and to report to the RTIC when those institutions failed to oblige in providing that information.
He said applicants for information under the RTI law were not required to state the reasons for which they were demanding that information but that the applicant was obliged to use the information responsibly and in the context of the law.
He explained that every public institution was expected to have up-to-date information managed by an RTI Officer, which must be made available to any person in Ghana upon formal request under the RTI law.
Mr Boateng, however, indicated that the RTI law exempted some information from being accessible to the public under conditions of national security, policy planning and formulation, law enforcement and public safety, international relations, economic and other interests, and privileged information.
Mr Peter Maala, the Upper West Regional Coordinating Director, who read a speech on behalf of the Upper West Regional Minister, assured the RTIC of the support of the Regional Coordinating Council and the Municipal and District Assemblies in ensuring the successful implementation of the RTI law.
Some participants asked when the region would get an office for the RTIC to facilitate access to its services.
The participants were urged to be ambassadors of the RTIC by spreading its education on the RTI law to every part of the region.