What is “Right to information”?

What is “Right to information”?

The Asphalt used in the new road to your neighbourhood which is under construction seems to be sub-standard. Do you know that you have a right to request for a sample of the Asphalt to test its’ quality? Do you also know that you have a right to know why your child was not accepted to the closest public school? Not only that, you can ask the private company which operates a bottled water plant in your neighbourhood for its environmental safety compliance record provided that the company has at least twenty five per centum of its shares controlled by the State and/or a public corporation.

The Right to Information Act No 12 of 2016 gives you the right to access such information as above and much more.

RTI stands for ‘Right to Information’. It is the right to access information held by public authorities. In other words, this allows complete or partial release of information held by the state. In many countries, this freedom is supported as a constitutional right. This is also known as the ‘Freedom of Information’, ‘open records’ or ‘sunshine laws’, as governments are typically bound by a duty to publish and promote openness. Thus, this is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Public officials are entitled to disclose any information requested by any citizen under the RTI unless it falls under one of the exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement. Accordingly, accessible information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, contracts, samples, models, and sound or video recordings.

The Right to information was established for transparency, government accountability,and general public protection against mismanagement and corruption together with the intention of improving public participation in policy making.

 

See the

RTI Act, No. 12 of 2016 – English