Information Is a Human Right - Media’s Role in Promoting the Right to Information
The Information Commission of Bangladesh together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Bangladesh organized a training workshop for journalists in Gazipur. The presentations and discussions focused on the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the role of the media in this important field. Journalists carry a huge responsibility in creating public awareness on citizens’ rights and entitlements. Here the RTI Act provides an important tool. It enables access to information on government projects, schemes and benefits, thus creating the ground for investigative reporters to draw attention to institutional inefficiency like corruption, waste, nepotism and abuse of power.
“RTI is our fundamental human right. Journalism and RTI together assure access to public information and freedom of the press”, said Nepal Chandra Sarker, Information Commissioner of Bangladesh. This, he added, facilitates the freedom of expression in the country. Eventually this freedom is essential for an informed citizenry and the establishment of good governance,” the senior official told the workshop participants.
FNF has partnered with the Information Commission for many years. Country Representative Dr. Najmul Hossain is envisioning a shift in the strategic approach. While the current approach focusses on providing technical assistance and training to government officials and agencies, the shift in the new direction would mean providing RTI Act awareness among the civil society, journalists, academicians and law enforcement agencies in an effort to stimulate demand for better governance in the country. “This approach should enhance the ability of the citizens to fully realize the potential of the RTI Act and lead to a more accountable and transparent state”, Dr. Hossain concluded.