Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) called for moving to a culture of transparency from a mindset of secrecy at the political and administrative level, for the effective implementation of the Right to Information Act.
It said at a time when the culture of privacy is being nurtured in the country with the help of colonial laws like the Official Secrets Act, the wide application of the Right to Information Act is very important.
In order to get the effective benefits of this law, it is necessary to raise awareness about the law at the local and policy-making level, said speakers at a virtual discussion organised by TIB on Tuesday morning.
The discussion, 'Right to Information Act: Bangladesh's Experience' was organised marking International Right to Information Day. TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman presided over the discussion, preceded by the final round of the Right to Information Policy Competition.
At the discussion, daily Ajker Patrika Editor Dr Golam Rahman said, "Of about 1100 laws in the country, this one law can be applied directly by the people to the government. Therefore, there is a need for a statewide campaign to increase the awareness of citizens about the use of the law. The issue of self-motivated disclosure also needs to be given more importance."
Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, "We all have high expectations of this law. This is a very promising law to ensure accountability of the government. All stakeholders must work together to ensure its successful implementation. The state needs to raise awareness about this law, so that the demand for information among citizens increases."
"In many cases, the culture of privacy is practiced, taking advantage of the Official Secrets Act. Deserting this culture of privacy, politically and administratively, we need to move forward to a culture of transparency," he added.
Research Initiatives Bangladesh's Assistant Director Ruhi Naz said, "To ensure the success of the RTI Act, it is necessary to raise awareness at the local level as well as at the policy-making level. Citizens and government must work together for effective implementation of the law."
Among others, the discussion was also addressed by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Executive Director, Dr Fahmida Khatun, Management Resources and Development Initiative (MRDI) Executive Director Hasibur Rahman, and Associate Professor of Department of Development Studies at Dhaka University, Dr Asif Shahan.