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.
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.
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.
Sri Lanka was the last country in South Asia to adopt the Right to Information Act (RTI) in 2017. For many of us who were involved in discussions with our Sri Lankan counterparts before adoption of the law, it is gratifying to note the progress it has made in these two years. There is much that we can learn from their experience and use in Bangladesh.
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.
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: