SLPI, CEO Kumar Lopez hands over the Citizen’s Manual to Chairman of the RTI Commission Mahinda Gammanpila with RTI Commissioners Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Somapala Punchihewa at the RTI Commission offices, BMICH, Colombo

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) launched ‘A Citizen’s Manual on Sri Lanka’s Right to Information (RT) Law’ on December 5 at its premises. The Manual simplifies the RTI Law to enable the citizen to use the Act effectively so that the government is made more accountable to the people.

The purpose of the RTI law is to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in Public Authorities by giving effect to the right of access to information and thereby promote a society in which the people of Sri Lanka would be able to more fully participate in public life through combating corruption and promoting accountability and good governance.

The SLPI conducted two pilot trainings around the RTI Act and the Manual in Gampaha and Galle with provincial journalists. Compiled by Menaka Lecamwasam, attorney-at-law during July and September 2016 with the guidance of Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, senior lawyer, who now serves as a Commissioner in the RTI Commission, the Manual incorporates a simple question and answer style highlighting key areas of the law.

“We hope that this will be used by both citizens and journalists. The Manual is published in trilingual form and contains key information such as, what is RTI?; duties of the Ministries and Public Authority; how to obtain information and from whom it could be obtained; what type of information will not be disclosed, the appeal process and penalties and the role of the RTI Commission,” said SLPI, CEO, Kumar Lopez.