Participants at a public forum organized in Ho, on the Right to Information bill have expressed concern about the blanket exemptions in the proposed bill which they believed will thwart the purpose of the right to information. The bill under section 5 to 18 contains number exemptions including information from the office of the president, vice president, cabinet as well as information concerning national security among others.
The forum was the first in the series of regional forums being organized by the parliamentary joint committee on the constitution, legal and parliamentary affairs and communications with support from the World Bank.
Participants who were drawn from civil society, academia, clergy, educational institutions, security services, traditional authorities, local government, departments and agencies among others also expressed reservations about the requests fees to be paid before accessing information, which they considered as a hindrance to information access while others believe it will broaden the scope of corruption in the system.
Other concerns raised include poor records keeping in country and also the setting up of an independent body to oversee the administration of the law when passed.
Mr Felix Twumasi Appiah, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and communications, said the purpose of forums is to solicit views from the public in order to have an effective law that can stand the test of time.
He also explained that the Bill was based on the internationally accepted declaration, that the right to information was a basic right of the individual and said the bill when passed will lead to availability of information that will enrich public discourse and bring about greater transparency in governance.
click link to access The Right to Information Bill