Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s chief information commissioner has urged government departments to actively develop and update their websites to share information with the public under the Right to Information (RTI) law.
While addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, Chief Information Commissioner Major (retd) Sahibzada Muhammad Khalid said, “For years, there has been a trend of maintaining secrecy in official business, however, it has been countered with easy access to information under the RTI law.”
Khalid added that government departments and their public information officers should immediately update their websites for the public as well as anyone seeking information.
Giving details of the activities the RTI Commission has conducted across the province for the implementation of the law, Khalid said training workshops for public information officers have been held in DI Khan, Mardan, Kohat, Peshawar, Abbottabad and Mansehra.
“The RTI commission also arranged a training workshop for 90 information officers at the K-P Judicial Academy,” said Khalid. In August more officers will be trained at the academy in groups of five.
According to Khalid, since its formation earlier this year, the RTI Commission has received 71 complaints by citizens, of which 31 had been solved and the rest will be heard soon.
Speaking about creating awareness about the law, Khalid said advertisements are being broadcast on both TV and radio stations.
Special Assistant to the CM on Law Arif Yousuf said with the passage of the Right to Information Law government departments are required to maintain a proper record of their activities and upload it on their websites.
“Any government official cannot ask a citizen to provide a reason for seeking information, this is clearly stated in the law,” Yousuf added.
In response to a question, RTI Information Commissioner Abdul Matin said no request for information had been denied by any public body.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2014.