Governance expert Kashiraj Dahal has said the movement of right to information (RTI) should be boosted to ensure good governance. "Citizen's right to know is directly related to the guarantee of rule of law, transparency, accountability and good governance in the country," Dahal said at a virtual programme organized on the occasion of International Right to Know Day on September 28.
Dahal further said once the implementation aspect of RTI is weakened, it directly disturbs the democratic delivery, which indeed is the essence of changed system in Nepal. The ingrained culture of secrecy is however one of the challenges facing RTI movement, he argued.
In the programme that dwelt on the issues of present challenges before the implementation of RTI in Nepal, another expert and former Commissioner at National Information Commission (NIC), Sabita Bhandari, said lack of RTI awareness among the citizens is a major challenge while the weak management of information records and ignorance of RTI obligations by public bodies are equally worrying concern. "Transparency in information dissemination and proactive disclosure are the key to RTI. Government agencies like NIC should be strong enough to collaborate with citizens. At the same time, citizen too should be careful while requesting for information," he stressed.
Admitting the weak proactive disclosure trend among public agencies, Information Commissioner at NIC, Ratna Prasad Mainali, viewed that weak data protection mechanism at public bodies is major challenge of RTI implementation. He however said NIC would augment its activities by working together with networks that work for citizens' rights.
Chief Executive of Freedom Forum Taranath Dahal viewed that RTI is not only an effective tool to transparency and accountability but also one of the major components to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The SDG 16.10 assures citizen's access to information. Even the quality of development pillars as education, health, peace, economic prosperity, justice could be enhanced with the realization of citizen's right to information. Collaborative approach would help tackle challenges of RTI, he suggested.
Freedom of expression and information expert Sanjeeb Ghimire said the use of RTI is related to people-centered governance. So, all sorts of challenges on RTI implementation could be wiped out with concerted efforts. The virtual event was organized by Freedom Forum.
Source: National News Agency Nepal