Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) will soon spearhead a campaign to revive the demand for a Right to Information (RTI) Act. A survey will first be conducted to evaluate public opinion on RTI and a Coalition of Civil Organizations will also be formed to take the message to villages.
Professionals, leading media personnel and TISL members took part in a two-day strategy development discussion recently and identified the steps to be taken on a public campaign for awareness-raising. It was decided to embark on two strategic directions; to work towards the adoption of an effective law that guarantees the RTI and to create a sustainable public demand for a law that guarantees the RTI.
The two pronged strategy will have several other activities to harness public support for RTI.The participants were of the view that there are several major weaknesses in the governance structure of Sri Lanka. Absence of transparency, strong authority and secrecy are some of them. This situation has led to corruption at all levels of the government keeping the people in the dark relating decisions affecting them. Therefore, it is vital to enact on RTI to make the government transparent in its activities and accountable to people in actions.
Although there were several attempts in the past to enact a right to information law, it failed mainly due to lack of public support. Hence, it was felt that civil society is needed to be strengthened to raise their voice.