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    Professionals Seek 'Right to Information" Law in Nepal

    Nepalgunj, March 30: </U>A two-day mid-western regional workshop on Right to Information was held here for the past two-days with a view to promote national awareness on Right to Information. Organized by Freedom Forum Nepal in cooperation of the ICIMOD, the workshop deliberated on the rationale of a Right to Information law in Nepal as one of the most effective tools to consolidate people's power.

    About fifty delegates representing political parties, non-government organizations, civil societies, lawyers, media professionals and freelance intellectuals took part in the two-day workshop, discussing various dimensions of Right to Information (RTI) in relation to people.

    Nepal defined 'right to information' as part of the people's fundamental rights in its first democratic constitution in 1990 but it could not be implemented due to lack of law which is still absent.

    "Failure to make RTI law was an unfortunate thing for us," said Krishna Prasad Upadhyaya, chief judge of the Appellate Court Nepalgunj while addressing the inaugural session of the workshop on Thursday, 29 March. He said, now that the initiative has been taken, constant lobbying by concerned professionals could inspire authorities to make the much needed RTI law in Nepal.

    Chairman of the Freedom Forum Taranath Dahal said the two-day workshop also sought to collect suggestion and comments for bringing effective RTI law in Nepal. He said such a law helps citizens to feel that they are sovereign and empowered.

    Nepal recently drafted a bill on right to information, but members of the drafting committee claim the government has forwarded the bill to parliament with some "unacceptable" changes.

    Representatives of various political parties, including Nepali Congress, CPN (UML), Nepali Congress (Democratic) , CPN (Maoist), Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi), Nepal Bar Association, Federation of Nepalese Journalists and other organizations are taking part in the two-day workshop.

    In the context that the bill is yet to be passed, the workshop issued several recommendations to make the proposed RTI law effective.

    Freedom Forum has already held three such workshops in eastern, central and western regions of Nepal. A similar workshop is being held in far western town of Dhangadhi tomorrow.

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    Thats a very good development. RTI strengthen democracy at the lowest level.

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