21 October, 2019

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RTI Commission Commences Public Sittings And Hearing Of Appeals In Provinces Driving More Public Participation

The Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka (RTIC) has announced that it has commenced public sittings and the hearing of appeals in provinces. Issuing a public Statement to mark two years of operationalizing RTI in the country, it stated that the RTIC held its first public sitting and hearing of appeals in Panama, Ampara in the Eastern Province on January 19 which was attended by the Government Agent, Ampara, Divisional Secretaries of Lahugala, Siyambalanduwa, Damana and Pothuvil along with their officers as well as large numbers of community activists in the province.

The sessions were addressed by the Chairman, Commissioners, the Director General as well as the Government Agent, Divisional Secretaries and community activists.

The discussions that were conducted in Sinhala and Tamil focused on the successes and challenges of the RTI process with villagers explaining how they had used the RTI Act to obtain relief for their communities. Obstacles to the obtaining of information such as delays in government offices, bureaucratic processes and hostile attitudes of some officials were also discussed in detail.

The RTIC thereafter held appeal hearings in the province, concluding those appeals to the satisfaction of the parties.

The RTIC also held a soft launch of two trilingual publications of the Commission accessible on the website of the Commission (www.rticommission.lk). Volume One contains Orders of the Commission delivered during 2017-2018 with several significant principles, keywords and an Index of a broader
range of Decisions.

In delivering these Orders, the Commission has endeavored to maintain principles of equity between the Public Authority and the appellant while taking into consideration the fact that the greater weight of resources and power lies with the State rather than with an individual citizen. Volume Two contains Reflections on Sri Lanka’s RTI Act and RTI regime written by eminent contributors in the fields of law, media, the public service and academia.

With Ampara being the first province selected to conduct a public sitting of the Commission, the next disticts targeted for consequent public sittings and appeal sessions are Hatton and
Angunukolapelessa to be held in the coming months. Selection of the districts has been with a view to targeting marginalised/isolated/war affected communities in Sri Lanka in order that citizens who have not yet been exposed to RTI will be able to understand the benefits of using the Act.

The discussions have been planned in order that the RTIC acts as a facilitator in opening up dialogues between communities and government officers in regard to a co-operative and harmonious process in using the RTI Act.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    They should go after the black media too. These institutions use fake and fabricated news, and all the agendas of their owners to stir up ill feelings among the people, and destroying the amity in the country. One sided and biased media is very dengerous to the nation. The forth estate is the guardians of the people, and should carry balanced news with thorough facts checking to enlighten the masses. Where as what’s happening in our TV and radio news and news papers is appalling and disgusting.

    • 1
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      @Nimal, agree wit u! This black media is our ruination! But private media is not subject to the RTI Act as they do not use state/tax payer funds. Unfortunate.

  • 0
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    This Fancy Show will soon vanish in thin air and finally end up like the various Commission Reports in to the Waste Paper Basket.

    • 0
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      Yes! Both MR and RW would want this ‘Fancy Show’ stopped for sure. At least the poor people who benefited so far should be glad RTI was operating for 2 years! For ‘Mano’ and others, who will be bothered if RTI lives or dies?!

  • 1
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    What RTI for this pathetic Sri Lankan media? There is a big hue and cry over a Board meeting of Sri Lankan Airlines being held at the former Speaker C. Rajapaksa’s residence when the Rajas were in power because Sunil of COPE fame announced it in Parliament. The media is carrying that in a big way with also editorials on it, (Sunday Island today). But in 2018, the minute of that Board meeting at Chamal’s house was released after the RTI Commission gave an order and Sri Lankan Airlines complied. All the media carried news of the CEO (Charitha’s brother) salary and the other executives salaries which came out from the RTI release but completely omitted this piece of important news!!

    Stupid media! What RTI for them? They do not know how to use it!

  • 0
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    Remember, Mangala said RTI is foreign funded. It is for a specific purpose.

    • 0
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      Get your facts straight, JD… Mangala and foreign funded RTI? From what pissing gutter did you get that one out, mate?

      Mangala is the least interested in RTI! Why? The record shows – not stupid comments. Details coming out of UNP corruption and nepotism through RTI. Sri Lankan Airlines CEO issue is one. From what I hear, Mangala has instructed its officials to obstruct the RTI Commission to the best possible way, by not giving funds. Simple. Now we have a huge fraud being uncovered at CEB with LTL transformers through RTI. What Gvt will want RTI? And with stupid people who are politically biased, what chances does this have?

  • 0
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    RTI Commission Commences Public Sittings And Hearing Of Appeals In Provinces Driving More Public Participation

    For quite a while ‘the take it or leave it’ governance made us forget that we had a right to know what is happening. The creation of Right To Information Commission of SL (RTIC SL) has made a difference. The Commission is determined to make RTI work. Thank you.
    In other countries RTI has been used to obtain sensitive commercial information. In Lankan context, RTI must be used to expose the endemic corruption/nepotism/impunity. To create public awareness and the need to participate, the Commission will commence “Public Sittings And Hearing Of Appeals In Provinces”. This is most welcome.
    .
    It is possible, when the going gets tough, thuggery and intimidation may be used to stymie RTI. The Commission may be smothered. This must not be allowed to happen.

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