Easy Access to Information is Necessary

RTI in Bangladesh
FNF South Asia

The Chief Information Commissioner of Bangladesh, Ambassador (Rtd.) Mohammed Farooq encourges various activists to promote the implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act 2009 in Cox’s Bazar district. Information Commission of Bangladesh (ICB) expressed their motives to further develop the RTI law at a workshop jointly organized by ICB and Friedrich Nauman Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in Cox’s Bazar city.

Ambassador Farooq congratulated the newly-formed committee for Cox’s Bazar, who will oversee RTI implementation in that district. High-level police and district-level government officials, academics and NGO activists took the opportunity to discuss the administrative challenges in sharing information with the general public. The participants insisted to enhance the scope of easier access to information. The act does not compensate a person's effort involved in the inquiry process. Hence citizens may hesitate to invest their time in the entire bureaucracy.

Md. Abdul Karim of IC provided an interactive session to briefly explain the history and application process of RTI Act 2009. RTI is a fundamental right under the Bangladesh Constitution. The act is only a process to exercise this right. However partipants expressed the bureaucratic nature of this procedure. The process takes nearly a month. Then citizens are required to travel all the way to the capital city of Dhaka if they appeal for undisclosed information.

There is no compensation for their additional efforts. "Every citizen must practice their freedom of speech and expression to enquire for information that is funded by civilian tax" stated by Cox’s Bazar's District Commissioner, the Chair of the event. RTI Act 2009 passed as a hallmark of democracy to advocate transparency and accountability in Bangladesh government. FNF expects to enhance and strengthen the scope of RTI Act 2009 in the country with such events.