The writer is the Chairman of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and a former Director of UNHCR.
The writer is the Chairman of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and a former Director of UNHCR.
The first case was brought to our attention by RTI activists promoting the law at the grassroots level in Bangladesh.
Seeking information is not only a right of citizens, but also a civic duty.
To obtain the full potentials of the law, we must go beyond such perfunctory rituals and focus more on strategies to go ahead.
As authoritarianism creeps in across the world, the ideals of participatory democracy and representative governance have taken a back seat once again in many countries.
Today, we turn away from the positive and encouraging side of the Right to Information movement in Bangladesh, depicted in our previous column (The Daily Star, April 16, 2022), to peer into the shadows.
Today, we present tales that have been gathered from ordinary Bangladeshis.
The Information Commission of Bangladesh delivered a much-awaited decision on March 8, 2022, and a much-needed shot in the arm of the right to information (RTI) regime in Bangladesh.
The title of our column today is inspired by an editorial in Prothom Alo, a popular Bangla national daily in Bangladesh, published on February 5, 2022.
Efforts to limit the ruler’s authority over the ruled is as old as human history. It is a subject that has occupied the minds of social thinkers and philosophers of all major civilisations since ancient times.
The importance of a robust Right to Information (RTI) regime for a healthy and vibrant democracy is universally recognised.
The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2009 is made of interlocking parts.
Last month marked the International Right to Know Day. From the few seminars and webinars arranged on the occasion, it was evident that even 12 years after the Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted in Bangladesh, we are still largely preoccupied with how to spread awareness about the law.
he International Right to Know Day will be commemorated on September 28. By adopting Right to Information (RTI) or Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, governments recognise their citizens’ power to demand transparency and accountability about their work. Bangladesh enacted the Right to Information Act in 2009. How did that law fare last year?
The Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered for the colossal chaos it caused to governments as they grappled—and continue to do—with its catastrophic onslaught affecting lives and livelihoods across the globe.
Bangladesh has long been known for the political activism of its citizens, ready to fight for their rights and defend their freedom.
“We see all governments as obscure and invisible,” said Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher and statesman, in 1605.
We must not forget that we cannot bring good fortune for the people if our characters do not change! By rising above nepotism, corruption and self-deception, all of us have to be engaged in self-criticism, self-restraint, and self-purification.”
The deleterious impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the operations of the Right to Information (RTI) Act has been much discussed in the last one year. We drew attention to it in several of our columns.
Jamaluddin of Dinajpur had learnt at a training session that the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2009 of Bangladesh was enacted to provide a legal basis for citizens to exercise their rights as “owners of all powers of the Republic”.
During the construction work of a regional highway in Dinajpur, local inhabitants were increasingly bothered by the dust it generated.
Most countries of the world have moved in the past 50 years from the age-old practice of government secrecy towards making their work largely accessible by the public through Right to Information (RTI) or Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation.
Reva Rani of Taraganj Upazila of Rangpur District was determined to bring electricity to her home. But, all her efforts, including payment of “speed money”, failed.
From its onset in early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has damaged trust in governments. As governments fumbled with different approaches, citizens’ distrust of them increased in tandem. Allegations of misinformation, disinformation and lack of information polluted the atmosphere.
International day for universal access to information this year comes at a time when the whole world is reeling from the greatest global crisis since World War II. The Covid-19 pandemic has spared no country over the last six months and shows no signs of abating.
September is an important month for Right to Information (RTI) buffs all over the world. They undertake various activities during the month to commemorate the International Right to Know Day on September 28 with two key focus points.
The relationship between governments and the people has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in many countries.
The Covid-19 pandemic will be recorded as one of the most consequential events in human history. A small part of that history will relate to how governments interacted with their populations in responding to the crisis.
One of the institutional casualties of the global Covid-19 pandemic is people’s right to information.
The Covid-19 pandemic, sowing misery across the world, has thrown the role of the state into stark relief.
Our last column was focused on the multifarious use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the United States.
How has the global use of Right to Information (RTI) laws brought about important new developments and catalysed change? The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regime in the US is the perfect example to illustrate this story.
Those who read this column regularly are aware of its two recurring themes.
The global excitement about Right to Information (RTI) appears to be on the wane. Instead of facilitating citizens’ role to monitor public work by accessing official documents, governments are resorting to procedural and other hurdles to curtail the reach of the law.
The euphoria accompanying the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War era late last century was followed by an upsurge of democracy in the new republics and a resurgence in nominal democracies.
Last month, the International Right to Know Day was an occasion for the champions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in Bangladesh to show how the law helps to strengthen democracy and advance good governance.
The United Nations observes September 28 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information, informally known as the International Right to Know Day. It is one of the 165 annual international days declared by the UN to raise public awareness about
With some 130 countries around the world having adopted Right to Information (RTI) laws, we now know a great deal about how citizens use this law in a variety of social, political and economic contexts—in as rich a variety of ways as there are cultures and peoples on this planet.
You are really doing a great job,” said the Designated Officer (DO) of the District Social Welfare Office of Dinajpur. He was talking to a member of the public who had gone to his office to submit a Right to Information (RTI) request.
Khandaker Mozammel Haque passed away early Thursday, August 8, 2019. Readers may know him for his contribution to the
Funds stolen by political leaders. School supplies siphoned off by a contractor.
When young Shovon moved to Dhaka from his village not very long ago, he went looking for ponds to bathe in. He discovered quite a few of them, spread all over the city.
Bank loan defaults and their harmful impacts on the economy are not matters of public concern in Bangladesh alone. It has agitated the public mind in neighbouring India for a long time. A recent directive of the Supreme Court of India has some lessons for Bangladesh.
In recent weeks, two important government ministers—Law Minister Mr Anisul Huq, and Information Minister Mr Hasan Mahmud—have given vocal support to a fuller implementation of our national Right to Information (RTI) Act.
In her first address to the nation after being sworn in for her third consecutive term last month, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced “zero tolerance for corruption” as a key policy of her new government. This was followed by the release of Transparency
International observers who follow global trends on the progress of transparency and accountability instruments, such as Right to Information (RTI) or Freedom of Information (FOI), which have witnessed phenomenal growth in the last three decades, are often asked if the laws have fared well in their new abodes with varying levels of democratisation.
As the Right to Information (RTI) regime nears completion of its first decade of existence, we asked a few scholars, advocates and users of the law for their views on its progress so far. Results were mixed.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” A slight tweak of this famous quotation from British writer George Orwell will make it equally appropriate for the right to information:
The International Right to Know Day on September 28 was observed this year with much less enthusiasm in many countries. Though 90 percent of world population now live in countries where the Right to Information (RTI), or Freedom of Information (FOI), law exists, the promise of transparent and accountable governance presaged in the law remains a distant dream.
A positive outcome of the contemporary trend towards authoritarian rule by democratically elected governments around the world is that it is providing a welcome boost to the limping Right to Information (RTI) or Freedom of Information (FOI) movements globally.
Our region is well-known for its deep-rooted culture of official secrecy inherited from colonial times. So why the proliferation of a rigorous law that gives citizens a tool to probe their governments and restrain their arbitrary use of power? Nearly all countries in South Asia have now enacted a Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Nine years ago this month, the RTI Act 2009 of Bangladesh was born. It came at a time when the entire nation was filled with a deep sense of relief and hope for change and reforms.
In the days before May 25, email users all over the world were bombarded with a barrage of electronic messages updating them on something called the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Observers claim that the number of messages dispatched by businesses throughout the world on the occasion might have surpassed those sent during Christmas or New Year. On that day, Europe became subject to the GDPR, a law aimed primarily at bringing outdated personal data laws across EU up to speed with the fast-moving digital era. GDPR has an impact far beyond Europe.
Political tension mount in most countries during election year. In Bangladesh, tension has already gripped the people and is likely to intensify before the general elections scheduled for December 2018.
At his investiture last month, the new police chief of Bangladesh committed to making each police station truly a centre for welfare of the people.
The disclosure of information on people's race or ethnicity during World War II caused one of the worst tragedies known to mankind. It led to secret denunciations and seizures, sending millions of friends and neighbours to labour and concentration camps and eventually to gas chambers.
In late 1840s, London was hit by a vicious cholera epidemic. Health officials struggled to curb the spread until Dr John Snow painstakingly collected data on the location and history of each case and traced the source to specific water supplies in the city.
Each refugee exodus looks different—in the numbers of human beings and the duration of their journey, in the acts of violence and atrocity, in the intensity of human suffering.