RTI stands for Right To Information. The Sri Lankan Parliament passed the Right to Information Act on June 23, 2016.
Some decisions of the public authorities may have an impact on us as a public. So we have to be a part of it when deciding what matters to us. With the Right to Information, we may request information for ourselves, our neighbors, or our community.Every citizen has the right to get information related to themselves from the government. The Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 enables citizens to exercise their fundamental right to information guaranteed by the Constitution. The Act also outlines the procedures and mechanisms to be followed in obtaining information from public authorities.
Not only the government and public institutions but also the private companies that influence the public life of the people of that country are accountable to the citizens. We may obtain information from them in whole or in part. The principle of maximum disclosure requires the government to disclose as much information as possible. That means providing the public with the official information they have. Proactive Disclosure states that the public does not have to pay any fee for obtaining information. The principle of the obligation to publish further states that public authorities should not simply respond to requests for information but should come forward to provide information to the public.
Further we can make RTI requests on issues that directly affect the public, such as health, education, and the environment.
Importantly we cannot get all the information from the authorities. There are some restrictions for that as well. But if the authority fails to respond to such requests, it is the responsibility of the government to justify the denial. For example, if a request for information regarding the security or economy of the country is filed, it may be denied at times for the security of the country. It should be noted that there is a Public interest that can open the door to access information under this Act.
The past government has paved the way for us to enjoy the fundamental right; Right to Information. We will use our right properly and become an informed society.
The right to information is our right.