Access to information: Govt departments urged to update official website for benefit of citizens

Published: July 16, 2014
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Speaking about creating awareness about the law, Khalid said advertisements are being broadcast on both TV and radio stations.CREATIVE COMMONS

Speaking about creating awareness about the law, Khalid said advertisements are being broadcast on both TV and radio stations.CREATIVE COMMONS

PESHAWAR: 

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.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • rube
    Jul 16, 2014 - 11:55AM

    It would also be nice if they did a little bit of SEO. Linking various government sites together would be a good start. Getting in-article links from other sites such as news sites would also be a good idea. As it is government sites don’t show up in search engine results so we can’t find whatever content they have there. Websites are like Islands and search engines are what connect people to them.

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  • Amin Ansari
    Jul 17, 2014 - 4:29PM

    It is a step in the right direction. Corruption loves secrecy and unavailability of information. The more transparent the process and the more information readily available to the press and the public makes for a more accountable government. Well done KPK. Keep working hard to institutionalize it as institution building takes time and effort. You are moving in the right direction with this step.

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