PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar here Saturday said that access to information is key to bringing about socio-economic development and transparency in the governance system.
They spoke at the launching ceremony of the Radio Live Shows project in the newly merged tribal districts. Addressing the event, Secretary Local Governments and Rural Development Shakeel Ahmad Mian said sharing of information was vital for socioeconomic uplift of a society.
He said development cannot be ensured without access of the people to information regarding various line departments and agencies.
Radio was the most effective medium through which awareness can be created among the people about their rights and basic facilities of life, he added. He stressed the need for involving all line departments in the project to change the socioeconomic conditions of the people of the merged districts.
He said for better results the print, electronic as well as social media should be involved in the initiative to make it a success.
Commissioner Right to Information Commission (RTI), Riaz Khan Daudzai in his remarks said not only the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan but Universal Declaration of Human Rights ensured the citizens’ right of freedom of expression, speech and access to information.
He said transparency without access to information was impossible, adding, the right to information ensured transparency and transparency ensured accountability. He said that in 2013, the RTI Act of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was among the 10 best laws in the world. “So far 9,000 applicants had been provided the required information out of the total 20,000 seeking information from various departments and agencies,” he said. He argued that after the enactment of the RTI law secrecy no more existed. “Now people even in the countryside are able to know how much funds are being spent on development schemes in their area and can ask questions from their elected representatives which is a step towards transparency and accountability at grassroots level,” he maintained.
Managing Director, Health Foundation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr Janbaz Afridi said results were not possible if a message was not communicated properly. He felt it was due to the communication gap that vital programmes like polio eradication could not bring 100 percent results despite spending huge funds and human resources. He pointed out that a large number of people were still not clear either to vaccinate themselves against Covid-19 or not despite the fact that hundreds of people died due to its outbreak.
He said development was directly linked to health as a healthy person can play a role in the uplift activities. He said the newly merged districts still lacked basic amenities of life and hoped the GIZ-Fata Development Programme (FDF) would bring positive results leading to the socioeconomic development of people of the hitherto neglected areas.
TV compere and production director of Radio Live Shows project Jamshed Ali Khan highlighted its aims and objectives and introduced the clips of reporters for the programme sent from various merged districts.
Mehvish and Muddassar threw light on different components of the project. They said that the departments of Local Government and Rural Development, Planning and Development, RTI Commission and Health and Education departments were part of the programme.