The present news alert provides a quick access to the news, studies, frequently asked questions and reports on the state of Right to Information (RTI) in Pakistan with a view to improve Governance by promoting transparency and accountability in various government structures and departments. This will also assist to keep the CSOs, concerned citizens and government departments updated with the latest initiatives and developments in the areas of RTI in Pakistan.
It is circulated monthly, containing contributions from a range of RTI topics to draw the reader's attention to the issues and developments on RTI.
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“When information which properly belongs to the public is systematically withheld by those in power, the people soon become ignorant of their own affairs, distrustful of those who manage them, and - eventually - incapable of determining their own destinies.” Pres. Richard Nixon, 1972
National News on RTI, Transparency and Accountability
1. PIOs asked to get familiar with information law
In Peshawar, speakers at a consultative workshop have said that the government should implement the Right to Information (RTI) Act and ensure that the public information officers extend full cooperation to public in provision of the required information within the shortest possible time.
2. CPDI launches Right to Information helpline
The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has introduced Right to Information (RTI) helpline to facilitate citizens in filing information requests to public offices.
3. Two-day training workshop on Right to Information (RTI) Act, concludes
A two-day training workshop on Right to Information (RTI) Act, organized by the Centre for Governance and Public Accountability, concluded in Kohat district. A number of journalists and members of civil society attended the event.
4. A Human Rights Mechanism for South Asia - National Workshop
Speakers at workshop said that given the common human rights challenges faced by all South Asian States, there is an urgent need for a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism. National Workshop on Building Consensus for South Asia Human Rights Mechanism was organized in collaboration with the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), HRCP and Bytes for All in Lahore on 9-10 June 2014.
5. Seminar on freedom of information
Speakers at a seminar held on 'Freedom of Information and Whistle Blower Protection' stressed the need for disseminating awareness among people for their right to freedom of information, suggesting that laws concerning freedom of information should be implemented in letter and spirit. The event was organized by Transparency International Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
6. NAB seeks anti-corruption themes in curriculum
NAB has decided to seek help from provincial education departments and textbook boards for inclusion of anti-corruption themes in school curriculum.
7. NAB executive board approves two corruption references
The Executive Board Meeting (EBM) of NAB approved filing of two corruption references. The NAB chairman directed all regional bureaus to take special measures to finalise old inquiries and investigations and submit their recommendations to the High- Level Committee.
8. NAB sets 75pc benchmark conviction rate
NAB has set a benchmark of 75 percent conviction rate, against existing 65 percent, in a new set of instructions which have been issued for strict compliance by all Regional NABs and NAB HQ.
Regional and International News on RTI
1. Indian CIC Extends RTI to Cover Private Schools
India’s Central Information Commission has ruled that the Right to Information Act applies to private schools. The CIC decided that RTI coverage is justified when private schools are governed by laws such as the Delhi Education Act that regulate the schools, including their salaries.
2. Bangladesh Law Scored at Fifth Birthday Conference
Passage of a right to information law five years ago hasn’t been followed by a culture change within government or among citizens. “We are trapped in a culture of fear,” said Tahmina Rahman, director for Bangladesh and South Asia of London-based Article 19.
3. Bhutan National Council Delays Action on RTI Bill
The National Council of Bhutan has decided to delay action on the Right to information Bill 2014. The National Council’s concerns about “obstruction” by the Prime Minister.
4. Open Data Would Benefit G20 Economies, New Study Says
Improved utilization of data could achieve more than half of the G20’s 2 percent growth target, according to a new report “Open for Business”. The major gains would come from better management of the economic cycle, better design of infrastructure and better matching of people with jobs.
5. Appeals Body Says World Bank Violated Access Policy
The World Bank violated its access to information policy in several ways when it denied a request for information from FreedomInfo.org, according to a decision by the three outside experts who decide appeals.
6. Ghana Requires Information Law to Trace Looting Money
Providing information in a timely manner on government activities can expose corruption at its birthing stages and ensure that the path of the looted money is traced, says Right To Information (RTI) Coalition.