The Coalition on the Right to Information, has reiterated the need to review sections of the Right to Information Bill, and to raise it to international standards before passing it into law.
Ms Mina Mensah, member of the Coalition who is also the Regional Co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said that if passed as it is, then it would have been better if the Bill did not exist at all.
She made the call at a durbar organized by the Coalition and the Assembly woman for Ogbojo near Adenta, Hajia Alimatu Issah, to sensitize the Ogbojo community on the Right to Information Bill and its implications if passed into law. She noted that many are often uninformed on issues that affect them directly at various levels of governance.
Ms Mensah said when passed into law, people will be empowered to request information on issues in public interest from their parliamentarians, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, who sometimes choose to be dismissive and tight-lipped when they are approached.
The Coalition, however, has issues with some sections of the Bill, such as Sections Five and Six, which place information disclosure exemptions on the offices of the President, Vice President and Cabinet.
The Coalition also believes that the Bill undermines maximum disclosure of information through long timeliness for information disclosure, inaccessible appeal mechanisms, exclusion of chieftaincy institutions, exclusion of private bodies and the exemptions placed on the aforementioned state offices.
The Right to Information Bill has seen about eight reviews in Parliament and several calls from stakeholders to have it passed into law since 2003.
The Bill is expected to give full effect to the right to information enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, when passed.