Tuesday June 25, 2024

Journalists advised to use RTI for investigative stories

By Our Correspondent
December 17, 2022

Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas has stressed that journalists should use the Right to Information (RTI) for investigative stories, which will not only help them get certified data but also increase the authenticity of journalistic reports.

He was speaking at an orientation session organised by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) in collaboration with the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and the Sindh Information Commission (SIC). The main objective of the session was to orientate the journalists towards the use of Right to Information law for investigative reporting. A large number of journalists and civil society activists attended the session.

Abbas said the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) had been dysfunctional since November 2022 due to the completion of the tenure of information commissioners. He demanded of the federal government to appoint PIC commissioners without any further delay.

The Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2016 was passed by Sindh Assembly in March 2017 for promoting transparency in the working of provincial authorities by securing citizens’ access to information.

The RTI is considered a milestone for ensuring accountability and transparency in public bodies. Being the 4th pillar of democracy, journalists are the representative of the people in terms of using the RTI Act for investigating and publicizing information of public interest.

Gathering information through the RTI Act, young journalists can contribute to ensure transparency in public, professional, and social spheres. However, the RTI is considered the best tool for investigative journalism, said Zahid Abdullah, RTI advisor of the CPDI, and former information commissioner of the Pakistan Information Commission. Shahid Abbas Jatoi, information commissioner of the SIC, said the commission is facilitating citizens in getting information that is guaranteed under Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan and the Sindh RTI Act. The commission had received 105 complaints since June 2022, six were resolved and on the remaining complaints notices were issued to the relevant departments, headded.