The Coalition of the Right to Information (RTI) is to step up its request for information to monitor institutions that are complying with the Right to Information Act, Act 989.
It said the exercise would identify and commend institutions that were complying with the law, and shame those that were doing otherwise.
The exercise will culminate into a hall of fame and shame activity where institutions that are complying with the RTI Act will be commended and those that are not will be called out," a Vice Chairperson of the RTI Coalition, Ms Mina Mensah, said at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
The event formed part of activities to commemorate this year's International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on the theme: “Ghana’s Right to Information Law: The need to build public trust in the implementation process.
” The UN proclaimed September 28 as IDUAI at its 74th General Assembly in October last year.
Compliance Ms Mensah, who is also the Director of the Africa Office of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said an exercise commissioned by the coalition towards accessing information from 18 public institutions in Accra between June and August, this year, showed a disappointing 11 per cent compliance.
She said out of the 18 requests made in Accra and Kumasi, only two institutions responded, with the rest completely ignoring the request.
“We also discovered that only eight of the institutions, less than 50 per cent, had information officers appointed or designated to process information requests.
“This is in sharp contrast to the provisions of the Act and a public announcement by the Ministry of Information in February this year that all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been directed to designate officers in charge of information to help people access information as required by the law,” Ms Mensah added.
She said the coalition would use infographics to carry out public education on key sections of the act.
“It is not for nothing that the framers of our 1992 Constitution placed the Right to Information under the ‘Bill of Rights’ section of the supreme laws of the land.
“Article 21(91)(f) that guarantees our right to information has been in place since 1992, and almost three decades after the coming into effect of this constitution, we cannot be seen as a country going in reverse, especially now that we have an Act of Parliament to operationalise that constitutional provision,” the vice chairperson said.
Assent Ms Mensah said when the RTI Act was assented to by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in May, last year, members of the coalition had a lot of expectation of an era where they would not have to live with opaqueness in public administration.
Again, she said, the coalition was elated by a very proactive implementation road map that was announced by the Ministry of Information the following month at a consultative meeting that included civil society.
However, the vice chairperson said the coalition was disappointed in the path of implementation.
She said the coalition had written to the Minister of Information requesting a copy of a report covering the status of the implementation of the RTI Act so far, and the record of funds, if any, that had been released for the implementation by the Ministry of Finance.
“It is instructive to note that the Ministry of Information, which is the government agency assigned to lead this initial implementation process, has not responded to this request for information from us,” Ms Mensah said.