TISL Launches RTIwatch.lk
A civil society monitor for Right to Information Implementation
Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is proud to present the launch of the website www.RTIwatch.lk , a trilingual website to monitor the implementation of the new fundamental Right to Information (RTI) that was enshrined in the Constitution in May 2015 and provided for by the Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016.
RTIwatch.lk is the one-stop-destination for all RTI-related information in Sri Lanka. It provides a comprehensive overview of the RTI Act, answers frequently asked questions with reference to the law and sets out in detail the persons responsible, the process of accessing information and appeals. It also hosts a space to pose questions that TISL will endeavor to answer in a timely manner.
TISL’s Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere stated – “Most citizens still do not know how they can use their right to information to assist them in their day to day lives. RTIwatch.lk is a trilingual web-platform which will for the first time allow the public to clearly understand the process and find answers to their questions.”
The details of the right to information and how to exercise and implement it are set out in the Right to Information Act according to which all citizens are entitled to request and receive information from Public Authorities. There is no need to show reasons to request information, nor a personal interest in the particular information. Public Authorities may refuse to give information on certain limited grounds specified in the Act, which they are obligated to give reasons for in writing.
RTIwatch.lk will update all information on the implementation of RTI as it becomes available, such as the appointment of the RTI Commission, the Information Officers and Designated Officers, the rules of the Commission, the regulations of the Ministry of Mass Media and Parliamentary Reform, and the respective Gazettes declaring Public Authorities ready to receive RTI requests from citizens. The website will eventually monitor the implementation the RTI Act and the performance of the Information and Designated Officers as well as the Information Commission, holding the government accountable to its commitments to their citizens.
TISL is encouraged by the passage of the RTI law in Sri Lanka. However, the onus is now on the government to take concrete steps in rolling out the RTI infrastructure to the public. TISL intends to closely monitor the implementation of the RTI in Sri Lanka through RTIwatch.lk. The site is a platform to be used by the regular citizen and public spirited entities alike – RTI is a tool that can be used by everyone, to help address concerns arising in any area of interest.
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