Home » News

CCRI Marks 8th National Information Day 2014.

«back»

20 August, 2014 -

CCRI marked National Information Day 2071 on August 19, 2014 by organizing an Experts' Review on the 7 Years of RTI Act in Nepal. National Information Day is being celebrated in Nepal on the day of enforcement of Right to Information Act 2007 for the first time in Nepal on Bhadra 3, 2064.

 

CCRI organized a program titled "7 Years of RTI Act" by Experts in Kathmandu. 30 participants representing various organizations and having a profound expertise in the promotion of Right to Information participated and overviewed the overall implementation of RTI Act 2007 since its enforcement. The participants also discussed on the underlying challenges so far bore in during this timeframe and provided with possible way-forwards for its effectiveness in coming days.

 

In the beginning of the program, Mr. Tanka Raj Aryal, Executive Director of CCRI briefed on the overview and objective of the program. Mr. Taranath Dahal, the Chairperson of CCRI provided with a brief overview of the RTI implementation of Nepal.

 

The key problems outlined for the obstruction in the overall RTI usage was identified by the experts as: the vacant positions of the Chief Information Commission and the Information Commissioners in NIC, ignorance of Nepal Government to oblige every public agencies towards RTI Act and its conferred obligations, classification of information, decentralization of NIC etc, and minimal role of media to use and promote RTI and the necessity of judicial activism towards addressing the issues of RTI.

 

From the panel of RTI Experts, Mr. Shree Acharya, Former Acting- Chief Information Commissioner of NIC expressed on the essence of enhancing the role of NIC further. Mr. Acharya further identified a scope with communicating with the Ministry of Local Development in order to make the work of NIC more oriented towards the local level.

 

Ms. Sabita Bhandari Baral, Former Information Commissioner of the NIC expressed her experience being had worked in NIC as an Information Commissioner. Ms. Baral expressed the underlying challenge that majority of the public agencies still perceive RTI obligations as an additional responsibility (compulsion). She also specified that the judiciary in Nepal has been continuously overruling the decisions of NIC against the sanctions imposed against the officials of public agencies. Due to this fact, NIC has been facing various challenges to work as an oversight body. Ms. Baral, hence put emphasis on the joint effort to implement RTI laws and also sought for a discourse among the stakeholders to declare if any public agency should go for a petition against the decisions of NIC.

 

Mr. Shree Ram Panta, Former Secretary of NIC highlighted on the role of NIC to promote, protect and enforce RTI in Nepal. While sharing his experiences being have acted as the Secretary of NIC, Mr. Panta expressed that the demand side of RTI i.e. the information seekers have been considerably increased to a large number and also expected this momentum to further accelerate in coming days.

 

Mr. Kedar Khadka, Chairperson at Good Governance Foundation put light on the essence of strictly applying the National Strategy on RTI Promotion by NIC. Mr. Khadka also suggested that necessary consultation with the National Planning Commission should be taken in order to have a ministry-level intervention for RTI  usage.

 

Mr. Ram Krishna Timalsena, an expert on RTI viewed that positive impacts on RTI in Nepal have been seen during this timeframe. Mr. Timalsena however, identified the lack of political, democratic and administrative will towards implementing RTI in a full-fledge. Further, Mr. Timalsena highlighted on the delay caused by the judiciary in deciding the petitions related with the classification of information has also obstructed its overall functioning.

 

Mr. Suresh Acharya, Chairperson of MIREST-Nepal, expressed on the essence of a political will in order to attain RTI to its fullest. He also opined that a structural reform of NIC is necessary to make it more comprehensive in operation by declaring its autonomy. Mr. Acharya put his emphasis on a Third Party Monitoring  between the demand side and supply side of RTI in order to ease the overall process of information seeking and disseminating.

 

Mr. Nayan Bahadur Khadka, an expert on RTI praised the overall development of RTI along with the resource materials compared to the past. Mr. Khadka urged NIC to work for developing an RTI- Enabling Environment in Nepal.

 

Mr. Suresh Acharya, an expert on RTI commented that RTI has not yet been linked with a broader spectrum of good governance rather it has been limited within some aspects of it. Mr. Acharya viewed that necessary amendments in the prevailing legal instruments and institutions of RTI should be made by the Parliament-Legislature involving the localization of NIC.

 

Ms. Babita Basnet, Chairperson of Media Awareness Group (MAG) Nepal highlighted on the failure of Government to appoint Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners for more than 2 years as an obstruction against the effectiveness of RTI in Nepal. Ms. Basnet hence opined that a lobbying from the side of CSOs to the Government of Nepal is necessary in this regard.

 

Mr. Hari Binod Adhikari from Freedom Forum expressed that RTI in Nepal has been gaining its momentum in a satisfactory way. Mr. Adhikari however stated the problem that since there is no any election held at local level e.g. VDCs, the corruption has been promoted and there is the lack of persons who at their own will use RTI to seek the related information. Mr. Adhikari suggested that National Information Commission should particularly focus local level agencies while awaring them to abide by RTI Act.

 

Mr. Gopal Krishna Ghimire, an advocate put emphasis on orienting people at the grassroot-level about the use and importance of RTI.

 

Mr. Sher Bahadur K.C. an advocate expressed that every agencies (both public and private) should be put under the purview of RTI Act with a specified set of information to be made public.

 

Mr. Baburam Aryal, an expert on RTI critically overviewed that RTI has been perceived by public agencies as an exception but not as a rule which is a prime cause for the derailment of RTI in Nepal. Mr. Aryal put an essence on the fulfillment of vacant posts of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners in NIC and urged journalists to actively engage in the usage and advocacy of this right.

 

Ms. Sharada Bhusal Jha, an expert on RTI critically expressed her view that NIC has been non-responsive towards the appellants and complainants due to the absence of the  Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners and hence similarly viewed that the NIC must attain its officials as a prerequisite.

 

Mr. Paras Acharya from Youth Initiatives, Nepal viewed that the supply side of RTI i.e. the public agencies should be oriented in an equal manner to the demand side i.e. the information seekers in order to attain an overall progress in RTI Implementation.

 

Ms. Kamala Panthi, General Secretary of Sancharika Samuha highlighted on the fact that the people at grass-root should be made familiar towards the use and importance of RTI usage.

 

Mr. Narayan Prasad Bhattarai, Chairperson of Karnali Self-Help Development Forum, Kalikot emphasized on the review of the prevailing laws of Nepal to be consistent with RTI Act 2007 and also the appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners in NIC.

 

Mr. Narayan Adhikari, Country Representative of the Accountability Lab highlighted that the CSOs working in the sector of good governance should at first themselves, abide by the obligations conferred by RTI Act 2007.

 

Ms. Jivan Prabha Lama, Acting-Secretary of NIC expressed her commitment towards working effectively in order to promote, protect and enforce RTI.

 

In the conclusion of the Program, Mr. Binaya Kasajoo, the Former Chief Information Commissioner of NIC and the Chief Guest of the program identified that RTI, compared to other nations in more organized in Nepal. Mr. Kasajoo, hence called upon the role of every stakeholders to effort jointly to further strengthen the demand and supply side of RTI. He also urged for the essence that the Government of Nepal should seriously work in the classification of information, manage for the scientific documentation of information contained at public agencies and empowerment of Civil society organization to more effectively hold campaigning at local level.