Civil society organizations called on the Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media as the Minister-in-Charge of the subject of Right to Information (RTI) to gazette the regulations for purposes of the implementation of the RTI Act.

Manager of the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre of Transparency International Sri Lanka, Attorney-at-Law Jagath Liyanaarachchi pointed out that awareness among the people with regard to the Act, especially in relation to how to use it was at present in a deplorable state.

He added that the RTI Commission, which had not yet been properly constituted as only three out of the five commissioners had been appointed (the Constitutional Council recommends persons and the President appoints), had yet to gazette the rules concerning the procedural aspects of the Act.

He said that the subject minister must also gazette the categories of public authorities as it is only then that people can forward applications seeking information.

“A primary responsibility of the government is to properly allocate funds and resources to the Commission and the relevant public authorities,” he said.

“The government has much to do in terms of fulfilling its responsibilities towards making the law into a reality. The charges for the information provided must be determined. Public authorities must have RTI officers and appeal officers,” he said.

“They must be trained. Information must be stored. Elsewhere, civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations must conduct awareness programmes around the country regarding the usage of the RTI Act,” he explained. RLJ