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SLPI urges President to enact Right to Information law

2014 Nov 23

The Sri Lanka Press Institute Friday wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressing the urgent need for Sri Lanka to enact a Right to Information Act in line with similar statutes in India and other SAARC countries.

SLPI’s representation to the president was made in the context of the upcoming 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu later this month.

"ln this regard, it is a matter for concern that Sri Lankan citizens remain deprived of robust rights to official information enjoyed by the peoples of neighbouring lands," SLPI’s letter to the president said.

"Agitation for the enactment of such a law has been ongoing in Sri Lanka since 1995 with RTI drafts being proposed variously by the Law Commission of Sri Lanka, the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka and with a draft being approved by the then Cabinet in 2004."

The letter said this process of law reform has taken place on the basis that an RTI law is part of accepted democratic governance and is an essential component of the public’s right to know (subject to accepted exceptions relating to national security).

SLPI said it is necessary to maintain public scrutiny of government action as a deterrent to corruption.

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has implied a Right to Information into existing constitutional provisions. However, considering the limited nature of these judicial initiatives, a separate enactment with properly defined rights and access procedures continues to be imperative.

This need was pointed out most recently in the report of the LLRC, SLPI pointed out.

``This Government itself has repeatedly assured that it intends to enact a RTI law. The SLPI urges that these assurances are honored for the greater good of the Sri Lankan people.

 

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=114720

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