Dhaka, 27 September 2020: Right to Information Forum Bangladesh today called upon the government to accelerate actions at every levels involving all stakeholders to fulfil the true spirit of the RTI Act 2009 for improving governance situation in the country.
In a statement issued on the eve of Right to Know Day on 28 September, which will also be observed globally as International Day for Universal Access to Information, RTI Forum said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that right to information strengthens access to health, education, ensure justice and contribute towards reducing inequalities.
“During ongoing pandemic it was seen that the relationship between government and the people has been badly affected because of lack of interaction between government of Bangladesh and its citizens. RTI Acts can help the government reduce citizen’s concerns about their actions, empower citizens and hold duty-bearers accountable in times of crisis.
The Forum strongly believes that the joint collaborative efforts of the government, CSOs, academic, media and people around RTI issues can save lives, build trust and instill hope during times of crises like Covid-19.
Appreciating progress made so far in the implementation of RTI Act 2009, RTI Forum emphasized that these achievements need to be sustained and scaled-up. “This will eventually result in increased transparency, enhanced accountability and improved service delivery to the citizens of Bangladesh.”
RTI Forum urged the Government to review various targets set in the RTI Implementation Strategy and draw up revised plans, in the light of findings of RTI Survey 2019, and global indicators under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.10.2.
The Government must also allocate sufficient resources for the implementation of SDG component of RTI, which is currently not available under SDG Financing Strategy, it added.
RTI Forum also called upon the Information Commission to play a greater role to increase public awareness about the law. RTI Forum also appealed to CSOs and NGOs to mainstream RTI in all their programmatic interventions. The Forum urged the media, both print and electronic to give attention to this Act.
RTI Forum is a coalition of institutions and individuals that played a pivotal role in the enactment of right to information law in 2009 and since then have been supporting the Government in the effective implementation and promotion of the right to information in the country.
Ms. Shahana Huda, Senior Coordinator, Media, MJF