A One-Day Meeting with Strategic Partners, Partner CSOs and organization working on RTI for forming a National Coalition on RTI was held on 22nd March, 2015 in Kathmandu.
The Meeting aimed at building strong network among organizations working on RTI in Nepal. 35 representatives of 16 different districts from Central Development Region and Western Development Regions participated in the Meeting.
In the beginning of the Meeting, Mr. Tanka Aryal, Executive Director of CCRI described about the importance of coalition of organization working on RTI and Plan of CCRI on it. Mr. Dahal also called the potential partner CSOs to be a part of this campaign.
Mr. Taranath Dahal, the Chairperson of Citizens' Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) presented about the modality of the Coalition. Mr. Aryal briefed that the meeting aimed at sensitizing and stimulating the stakeholders CSOs to have a national coalition on RTI will ultimately establish a well-working network for the promotion of RTI with a collaborative effort.
Mr. Shreeram Panta, former Secretary of National Information Commission briefed about the current activities initiated by National Information Commission involving the District Post Officer which are identified as the agencies to implement RTI in all the district of Nepal. Further, Mr. Pant also motivated the participants to file RTI Applications in public agencies and also seek information through MIS System launched by NIC in different districts.
The session was subsequently followed by an open-floor for sharing of the experiences related to RTI by the participants. The participants shared about several experience being have campaigned on behalf of RTI in their respective areas.
Mr. Khem Raj Sapkota, Executive Director of Vijay Development Resource Centre VDRC explained about the current momentum of RTI in the District of Nawalparasi. Further, Mr. Sapkota also expressed that working in a coalition has been very effective in awaring people about RTI and obliging public agencies to appoint information officers and proactively disclose information.
Ms. Sharada Bhusal Jha, Chairperson of Good Governance Campaign, Kathmandu expressed about the importance of filing RTI Applications in public agencies. Ms. Bhusal further added that orientation among local level people is very important to motivate them use this right.
Mr. Ram Bikash Chaudhary, coordinator of Civil Society Network of RTI, Rupendehi shared some examples where RTI Applications successfully disclosed the misappropriation of public budget, obliged public agencies to install Citizens’ Charter in every public agencies in the district.
Mr. Bal Krishna Sharma, coordinator of RTI Network Baglung highlighted the importance of coalition in motivating the youths to learn and practice RTI at local level.
Ms. Kalpana Koirala, member of RTI Network, Tanahun briefed about the progress of RTI Applications filed by the Network in the district. Further, Ms. Koiralal also highlighted the challenge that the public agencies of the district are still reluctant to disseminate information. Ms. Koirala also put an emphasis on training the local health volunteers about the meaning and importance of RTI which ultimately reaches to greater sphere of people.
Mr. Mohan Chandra Rumba, Chairperson of Youth Forum, Chitwan highlighted on the importance of RTI for journalists in investigative reporting. Mr. Rumba emphasized that journalists should use RTI to formally receive information for reporting but not receiving information from informal channel.
Mr. Padam Gaire, Coordinator of RTI Network, Palpa updated the overall progress of RTI momentum in the District. Mr. Gaire highlighted the challenge where other CSOs working with similar objectives do not work in collaboration.
Mr. Shiva Satyal representing Governance Watch, Kavrepalanchowk shared some experiences being have used RTI as a journalist. Mr. Satyal highlighted a fact that journalists more rely on informal sources of information rather than using RTI in their reporting. Further, Mr. Satyal added that orientation among local level people in the District of Kavre is necessary.
Mr. Deepak Ghimire representing Gramin Sewa Samiti, Ramechhap updated the status of RTI usage in the District and also told that majority of public agencies in the District have now information officers appointed. Further, Mr. Koirala also highlighted that public should be made aware about RTI in order to ensure its effective practice.
Ms. Samjhana Karki representing Radio Makwanpur, Makwanpur highlighted on the role of media in the promotion of RTI. Further, Ms. Karki also highlighted a challenge that the media often involve in self-censoring the information exhibiting its affinity towards political parties.
Mr. Jiwan Lama representing Asal Sashan Samanwaye Samiti, Dolakha identified the need to promote RTI in a coalition.
Mr. Ram Shrestha representing RTI Network, Nuwakot also highlighted the importance of orientation programs with youths to promote RTI in the District.
Mr. Bharat Pandey representing Sewa Sanchar, Gulmi identified the need to promote RTI in a coalition.
Mr. Deepak Koirala, Chairperson of CODEC, Dhading updated about the progress in the public agencies of the district complying with RTI obligations. Mr. Koirala also shared that government agencies of the districts are themselves involved in promoting this right.
Source : Citizen's Campaign For Right to Information
After the open floor discussion, Mr. Santosh Sigdel, General Secretary of Citizens’ Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) made a presentation on the importance of a network/coalition on RTI. Mr. Sigdel highlighted the prospects of promoting RTI in a coalition and also responding to the threats/challenges which a particular person of individual faces while using/advocating this right. Mr. Sigdel also highlighted on the basic approaches to ensure the effectiveness of the coalition. Further, Mr. Sigdel also highlighted potential challenges which the coalition might face during its functioning. He also recommended the ways to mitigate those challenges.
The Meeting concluded after developing, discussing and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the participants.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) basically focuses on the following issues:
a. Members of the Coalition abiding by RTI laws themselves.
b. Awareness raising in the public about RTI, its uses and importance followed by the delivery of necessary support.
c. Supporting and collaborating with public agencies for developing an RTI enabling environment.
d. Cooperating with other members of the coalition.