Wednesday October 20, 2021

The right to know

August 31, 2017

Recently, the Senate passed the Right of Access to Information Bill and now the same is waiting for the approval of the National Assembly. The Senate’s approval is a commendable step taken in the right direction. This shows that the government is promote the culture of transparency in the country. This bill will also ensure that there is a two-way flow of information. Once implemented, this bill will give the people an access to public records. The limitations that are set by the government relate to documents which might either harm the country’s national security or invade the privacy of citizens. It now rests with the National Assembly to pass the bill at the earliest.

The bill will allow citizens to make a request for information in writing to a public body. After following formal procedures, the public organisation will allow citizens to access public records. It is heartening to know that once the bill is passed officials of a public organisation would be required to respond to the request of access to information as soon as possible and any willful obstruction of this process would be considered against the law. It is hoped that through the bill, the government will promote transparency and accountability.

Tasneem Yaseen (Lahore)