PPP Co-Chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari showed serious concern about the impunity of crimes against media persons in the country on “Press Freedom day”. He emphasised the significance of “Right to Information Bill (RTI) and categorically stated that the draft federal RTI legislation had not been tabled even after one year of its finalisation by the Senate Committee.
Right to Information legislation, also referred to as freedom of information or access to information laws, establishes a general presumption that all information held by government should be accessible and set out the mechanisms by which it can be accessed.
There is a dire need of early adoption of the Right to Information (RTI) bill in the Sindh Province, as it will not only play a vital role in effective institutional mechanism but will also help in eradication of the negative connotation attached to the state of governance in Sindh.
The Sindh FOI Act of 2006 was never able to fulfill the citizen’s constitutional right to access to information because of its inherent weakness observed in the rules and regulation. The way forward is for the Sindh government to repeal the present FOI act and enact a Right to Information (RTI) law similar to the one passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab government.
In order to make it effective, the new law has to align itself to article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, which states that “Every citizen shall have the right to access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restriction imposed by law.” Enactment of new RTI bill in Sindh province will result in citizen empowerment, transparent governance and an assurance that human rights will be safeguarded in our society.
Reduction of corruption and promotion of good governance is only possible through the implementation of Right to Information law, which will empower the citizens and ensure their participation in public affairs.