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Thread: BANGLADESH: Info on public interest ensured in RTI

  1. #9
    C J Karira
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    Re: BANGLADESH: Info on public interest ensured in RTI

    As reported by Shamim Ashraf in on 21 September 2008:
    :The Daily Star: Internet Edition

    RTI given go-ahead

    The council of advisers yesterday gave final approval to the much-awaited Right to Information (RTI) Ordinance 2008 aimed at ensuring people's right to information.

    New posts will be created in most of the government offices and non-government organisations (NGOs). Officials holding those posts will provide people with the information they seek within 20 days of receipt of applications from them, says the ordinance.

    But in cases of issues concerning a person's life and death, arrest and release from jail, the officials will have to provide primary information within 24 hours, it says.

    The widely-debated law ensures people's right to information from organisations run with public money, and the NGOs using foreign funds, Information Secretary Jamil Osman, who placed the proposal before the council of advisers, told The Daily Star last night.

    The law covers government offices down to upazila level.

    “The rest of the local government bodies, like union parishads, will be covered by the laws on different local bodies which have provisions for ensuring people's access to information,” the information secretary said.

    The RTI ordinance with 36 sections and a schedule of six security and intelligence agencies, which cannot be asked for information, has a list of about 20 instances of exemption from disclosure of information, an official said seeking anonymity.

    The government said the new law will increase transparency and accountability, reduce corruption and establish good governance in government offices and NGOs.

    Different rights and journalists forums have welcomed the government move terming final approval of the ordinance a 'historic step'.

    The advisory council gave final nod to the RTI Ordinance 2008, 94 days after it approved the ordinance in principle, at a meeting chaired by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed.

    Details of the ordinance were not available immediately. It will come into effect after the president signs it.

    Under the new law, people will have to pay fees for filing application seeking information. But people living below poverty line will be able to apply in white sheets of paper without paying any fees.

    A three-member Information Commission headed by a chief information commissioner will be formed to properly enforce the law and deal with complaints from the information seekers.

    “One of the two commissioners will be a woman,” Syed Fahim Munaim, press secretary to the chief adviser, told reporters after the council meeting.

    The Information Commission, apart from financial liberty, has been entrusted with the authority to punish or fine officials who will fail to provide primary information on life and death, arrest and release of a person from prison within 24 hours, he said.

    The president will appoint the chief information commissioner and information commissioners on the basis of suggestions from a five-member selection committee.

    The chief justice will nominate a judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to head the selection committee. The Speaker will nominate two parliament members -- one each from the treasury and opposition benches-- while the government will nominate one from among eminent citizens.

    The cabinet secretary will be the other member of the selection committee.

    If any assigned official does not provide information to an information-seeker as per the law, he will have to pay Tk 50 for a day's delay and a total fine not exceeding Tk 5,000, according to a provision of the ordinance.

    The ordinance will not cover National Security Intelligence, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, Military Intelligence Directorate, Special Security Force, Criminal Investigation Department of Police and Central Intelligence Cell of the National Board of Revenue.

    This provision will not apply if the information concerns corruption and human rights violation.

    Welcoming the government move, Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, which has been working for several years for enactment of the law, said, “It is historic. If there is anything that needs to be changed, it can be done later.”

    Congratulating the government on its approval of the ordinance, Shawkat Mahmud, president of the Jatiya Press Club, also termed it a historic move.

    The information secretary said 99 percent of the NGOs will be covered by the law. “We've tried to ensure maximum disclosure of information. If there is any lapse in the ordinance, there is always a scope to address that,” he said.

    Describing implementation of the law as a crucial job, he said the main tasks include forming the information commission, creating information bank and information dissemination system at offices and training up the staff.

    Against the backdrop of a longstanding demand, the caretaker government took the initiative to formulate an RTI law as part of its institutional reforms. After an eight-member government-formed body prepared a primary draft in February, opinions from different stakeholders were sought before the information ministry submitted it to the cabinet on June 18.

  2. Re: BANGLADESH: Info on public interest ensured in RTI

    Well Bangladeshi's are certainly ahead of us, 20 days & 24 hrs vis a vis 30 days and 48 hrs. A healthy and positive competition. Three cheers for Right to Information a concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by karira View Post

    Under the ordinance people can get information in 20 days and in emergency cases within 24 hours, while officials concerned might face fine up to Taka 5000 for delay in providing the information sought.

    Incase of issues concerning a person's life and death, arrest and release from jail, the officials will have to provide primary information within 24 hours, the ordinance suggested.

    "If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people." -- Confucius

  3. #11
    victor mecwan
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    Re: BANGLADESH: Info on public interest ensured in RTI

    Yes,Bangladesh is ahead of us in terms of the provisions for 24 hrs/20days v/s 48/30.They deserve the Kudos!! I hope the spirit is kept up by the Government officials.

  4. #12
    Atul Patankar
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    In Bangladesh, All govt, pvt offices asked to appoint RTI staff by Dec 19

    As reported by The Daily Star :The Daily Star: Internet Edition

    The government has asked all public and private offices covered by the Right to Information Ordinance 2008 to appoint officials within December 19 for providing information to people seeking it.

    The Press Information Department issued a reminder in this regard yesterday.

    Section 10 of the ordinance promulgated on October 20 has made it obligatory for all organisations to nominate an officer-in-charge for each information-providing unit within 60 days of the promulgation of the ordinance.

    Apart from different ministries, departments, directorates and offices, all NGOs and private organisations that run on or receive government or foreign funds, work on behalf of the government, and supply goods or provide services on government funds are bound to provide people with information.

    The much-expected ordinance came into effect on October 20 but people will have to wait 59 days more before availing themselves of the service as the authorities have to develop mechanism, set up separate cells and appoint officials for the purpose.

    The government will also set up a three-member Information Commission within this period to ensure proper execution of the law and resolve public complaints regarding information.

    After appointing the officers-in-charge, each authority will inform the Information Commission in 15 days the name, designation, address, fax number and email address of the official-in-charge.

    The National Security Intelligence, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, Defence Intelligence Unit, Criminal Investigation Department of police, Special Security Force, Special Branch of police and intelligence units of the Rapid Action Battalion and National Board of Revenue have been kept outside the purview of the ordinance.

    However, if the information sought is related to corruption and violation of human rights within these agencies, they will have to provide the information within 30 days.

    People seeking information will have to apply either in writing or electronically or through email paying fees. The authorities may exempt anyone from paying the fees

  5. #13
    Atul Patankar
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    Bangladesh Ministry of Information moving fast to execute RTI ordinance

    As reported by the Financial Express MoI moving fast to execute RTI Ordinance, says secretary
    The Ministry of Information (MoI) is making all out efforts to put in place all necessary arrangements to execute the Right to Information (RTI) Ordinance-2008 within 90 days of its promulgation, reports BSS.

    The ministry has already issued letters to all secretaries of the ministries and divisions, heads of the constitutional, statutory bodies and public and private offices requesting them to appoint an 'authorised officer' at each unit under their offices within 60 days of the promulgation of the ordinance.

    Talking to the news agency at his office here Thursday, Information Secretary Jamil Osman said the process of forming a three-member Information Commission under the ordinance was in progress.

    The government promulgated the RTI Ordinance-2008 on October 20 this year in the light of the recommendations of an eight- member committee, a report of the Law Commission and proposals gathered from different seminars and symposiums participated by the stakeholders on the issue.

    As the ordinance comes into force by January 19, 2009, all required preparations are now being taken to establish the Information Commission, which will execute the RTI Ordinance, the information secretary said adding his ministry was providing secretarial service to constitute the commission.

    He said the MoI asked the District Information Officers (DIO), Public Relation Officers (PRO), and all other concerned officials of the ministry to help the offices in this regard.

    It also provided training to 44 officials of the ministry who will work as trainers to orient others on the formation of the information unit and providing information to the applicants.

    The Information Commission with a mandatory female member will be an independent body and can exercise power like a civil court to achieve the objectives of the RTI ordinance, Jamil Osman said.

    The commission will dispose of the citizens' complaints about access to information and help the concerned offices to procure, preserve, classify and disseminate those information.

    The present caretaker government (CG) took the decision to formulate the RTI Ordinance, as subsequent political governments were completely indifferent to fulfill the citizens' aspiration to get information in line with the constitutional provision since independenceMoI moving fast to execute RTI Ordinance, says secretary

  6. Bangladesh--New bill on RTI tabled in JS

    By Staff Correspondent

    The government has placed a bill in parliament seeking to enact a law to ensure people's empowerment by allowing them to have access to their right to information.

    The bill was tabled yesterday when the much talked about Right to Information Ordinance 2008 ceased to be in force.

    The bill titled 'Right to Information (RTI) Act 2009' will have a retrospective effect from October 20, 2008, the day the immediate past caretaker government promulgated the right to information ordinance.

    Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad placed the bill in supplementary orders of the day and sent it to the parliamentary standing committee on information ministry to report back to the House on scrutiny within 10 days.

    All sorts of registered organisations will now come under the law and be bound to provide citizens with information on matters of public interest once the RTI is passed.

    The bill was placed just a day after the prime minister's assurance of considering all the ordinances, which ceased to have any effect from yesterday.

    The bill, however, suggested scrapping the RTI ordinance 2008 promulgated by the immediate past caretaker government.

    Source: The Daily Star - Details News
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.

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