PESHAWAR: Participants of a consultative meeting of media group on the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2013, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has appreciated the passage of the law and has urged the provincial government for launching media campaign to create awareness among people at grass roots level.
The media group is constituted by the Development, Environment, Legal Aid, Technical Support and Advocacy Association (DELTA), which is holding consultations with stakeholders for better utilisation of the legislation.
The consultative meeting held at Peshawar Press Club (PPC) was attended by members of the media group and other journalists.
The participated of the meeting termed the Act a good piece of legislation. But, for getting maximum benefits from it, they called for launching a campaign in both print and electronic media for creation of awareness in the people. He said that awareness regarding the law would help decline the problems and complaints of people.
They further said that under Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, it is the fundamental right of all citizens to have access to information at federal and provincial levels. They termed the newly promulgated Right to Information Act (RTI Act) 2013 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government bold step towards bringing transparency to the province.
The meeting recommended that the commission to be constituted under the Act comprises representatives from the legal fraternity and civil society but does not have media representation. The media is the forefront in highlighting issues regarding corruption. Therefore, a representative from media must also be included in the Information Commission along with members.
It said that that lower courts as well as the high courts should not be exempted from application of the law. It is necessary that the judiciary, instead of treating it as ‘sacred cow’ is also made accountable, as per international practice.
Hence, an information cell should be crated within the courts to provide information through an information officer deputed to the cell by the government emulating the structure at the district level. Information pertaining to monetary matters of the judiciary cannot be sought from the courts, but from the department of law.
The RTI Act should also be copied and enacted at national level through national legislation. Similarly, the rights provided under the RTI Act, should b also provided to the residents of Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA, which can be accorded through extending the legislation to cover the area of FATA through a Presidential notification.