Nepal | May 26, 2020

Second RTI National Convention concludes

Himalayan News Service
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The two-day Second National Convention on Right to Information organised in the capital concluded on Saturday by adopting the Second Kathmandu Declaration.

It was attended by RTI activists from 55 districts across the nation and civil society members, journalists, legal practitioners, and government officials. The convention adopted the second Kathmandu Declaration on promotion and practice of RTI.

The convention acknowledged Right to Information as the internationally accepted right of everyone to access information held by public bodies at all levels as outlined in the Preamble of the Right to Information Act, 2007, and also recalled the fact that the nation’s constitutions since 1990 have upheld Right to Information as one of the fundamental rights of the people.

The participants held intensive deliberations for two days on various aspects of the use and exercise of Right to Information in relation to the situations of RTI practice in the capital as well as its neighbouring and far-flung districts.

Activists highlighted  the scope of RTI as effective tool to empower people and promote social accountability and culture of openness through information, despite lapses.

The convention also urged the government to make necessary provisions for effective practice of RTI in the country. “RIT Application process should be simplified. Citizenship certificate should not be made mandatory while asking for information, as not all citizens have received official citizenship papers. Online application should be allowed. Public bodies must be urged to post RTI application slugs in their website,” the six-point declaration read.

“Oath of Office and Secrecy” has to be replaced or redefined in a way that does not clash with the spirit of Right to Information. As the nation prepares to embark on federal structure, provincial Information Commissions must be brought under the umbrella of Federal National Information Commission, to prevent conflict, it added.

“NIC must be empowered with resource bases and to take or recommend actions against those violating its ruling. It must also be empowered to question officials over information issues,” the declaration said, adding “Media community should promote the use of RTI as it helps journalists disseminate fact-based information and promote credible journalism,”

A version of this article appears in print on August 09, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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