Better awareness urged for Right to Information Act

Kathmandu, March 20:

Experts from the media sector today pointed out the need of awareness among mediapersons and the public to properly exercise the right to information act.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Press Council Nepal today, Binaya Kumar Kasaju, chief commissioner of the National Information Commission, said the people were still unaware of the Right to Information Act. He said the lack of awareness was hindering the people from getting information from reliable sources. “Mediapersons are still using old methods to acquire information through their own sources rather than getting information from the assigned members in different sectors,” said Kasaju. He said personal sources would provide information only for their own benefit, barring the mediapersons from getting the correct facts. “The right to information will end the compulsion of getting information of mass interest on the basis of personal relationship,” he added.

He also said that the right to information would not change everything overnight. “Instead people should change their mentality to change the current environment of using old methodologies to gather information,” added Kasaju. He also stressed that the government officials should be administered a oath of transparency and openness rather than the oath of office and secrecy.

Poshan KC, general secretary of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, said the Information Commission needed a lot to do to make the people aware of the act.

Tanka Raj Acharya said that the implementation of act was not only the responsibility of the political parties but also of the non-government agencies.

“But these organisations are not working for the implementation of the act, as they are afraid of being exposed of their flaws,” Acharya said. He also urged the mediapersons to develop a habit of using official sources rather than using personal contacts for information gathering.