Forum Condemns Right To Information Bill

Participants at a day’s forum in Wa have said the Right to Information Bill before parliament lacked what it takes to meet world standards. The participants made up of assembly members and people with disabilities as well as media practitioners raised concerns that the Bill needed critical review to bring it in line with international best practices and standards. For example, an information officer has about 21 days to inform an applicant of his or her decision and it takes about six months for one to acquire information requested. They said the best way was that information should be given as soon as possible so as not to defeat the purpose of the request because information delayed could be easily corrupted. The concerns were made known during a debriefing forum organised by Radio Progress with support from Commonwealth Human Right Initiative (CHRI) to enlighten participants on the Right to Information Bill. The participants said access to information helped to curb corruption, reduce speculations and falsehood and also promote transparency and accountability. Therefore delays in providing information by public officials upon request were negative. They appealed to the public to actively and willingly demand information especially from their assembly members who are closer to them.