Parliament asked to review deadline for submission of RTI memoranda

Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere - NMC Chairman

The National Media Commission (NMC) on Thursday appealed to Parliament to review the deadline for submission of memoranda on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill and facilitate the ready availability of copies of the Bill to the public.

It said Parliament should allow sufficient time for the public to obtain copies of the Bill, study the provisions thereof, before submitting memoranda or otherwise making contribution to the legislative process on the Bill.

The appeal was made in a statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere, Chairman of the NMC, in reaction to a call by Parliament to the public to submit memoranda on the RTI Bill by March 2, 2010.

It said the NMC considered the deadline as impractical since to date, the Bill was still not available to the public (at the Assembly Press).

“In the circumstance, it is, with respect, not possible for citizens and their organisations to submit any memoranda on a Bill the contents of which they have not seen, much less studied,” the statement said.

It said the Right to Information was founded on the sovereignty of the people and their right to know what government and public bodies were doing in their name and on their behalf.

This way, the statement said, transparency in public affairs and accountability of government to the people could be better secured.

“A right to information law thus goes to the very heart of our democratic system of governance and every opportunity should be provided citizens to make informed input into the legislative process so that, we have a right to information legislation that truly upholds the citizen’s right to information and promotes openness, transparency and accountability in the affairs of the state,” it said.

“While it is understandable that Parliament should be anxious to pass into law the Right to Information Bill without undue delay, 17 years after the Constitution, which guarantees this right, came into effect, we are still of the view that we should allow full public debate and nation-wide consultations on the Bill before it is passed into law”.

“This will ensure that whatever enactment eventually comes into force enjoys the support, ownership and understanding of the people, whom the law seeks to empower, “the statement added.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.