The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo, has assured that the passage of the Right to Information Bill will ensure the protection of individuals who provide information in the public interest.
According to her, the assurance offered by the Bill is critical for the development of the country’s democracy.
Speaking at a stakeholder forum on the RTI bill in Parliament, Ms Akuffo explained that the bill would enhance governance when passed.
“The bill seeks to protect persons who disclose information or authorise the disclosure of information for the protection of the public interest, persons are not liable to criminal or civil proceedings for the disclosure or authorisation of information.
“The enactment of the Right to Information Bill 2018 is essentially for the promotion of good governance,” Ms Akuffo noted.
The bill was referred to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, but the Minority raised concerns about the bill not being gazetted.
The bill was withdrawn and later re-laid in Parliament last month, and was expected to go through the normal legislative process for passage.
The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognised as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
The bill as has been drafted is to give substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society.”
Various advocacy groups emerged to press for the immediate passing of the bill into law in 2002 but was reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its 2008 and 2012 election manifestos promised to ensure the bill was passed and in 2010, it was presented to Parliament for consideration.
In 2011, the government signed unto the Open Government Partnership Initiative with a commitment to pass the bill and in November 2013, it was formally laid before Parliament.
Former Deputy Attorney-General Dominic Ayine in 2015 moved the bill for second reading in Parliament but in October 2016, it was withdrawn and replaced with a new one which was immediately laid.
Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and the swearing-in of new Parliament in January 2017, the bill was no longer in Parliament and had to be re-laid by the new government before work commences on it again. –citinewsroom.com