English | Dzongkha Tuesday, September 22, 2020

RTI Act- Is it needed?

May 30, 2012

Should Bhutan have Right to Information Act or RTI? Experts have been called in to share experiences on how RTI actually promotes democracy and public participation in governance. A two-day seminar is underway in Thimphu to create awareness among stakeholders on RTI.

The RTI, in many countries, is looked as an important tool for assuring public participation in governance. However, the government indicated that RTI is not a priority.

“At the moment, I think there is a lot of misconception. Some Public, media think RTI means they can go to any office, government office get any information they want, demand files, records, and meanwhile even some people in government think RTI means long queue of people demanding information and not letting them work,” said Dasho Kinley Dorji, Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Wajahat Habibullah, a veteran in India’s RTI movement, said such laws only strengthen democracy, though there would be initial reluctance from the governments, which he said is normal.

“If you are not used to sharing information with the public, it will lead to certain reluctance. There would be a hesitation in those who are already in position of authority whether they are politicians or bureaucrats. But I would like to reassure them that there are no grounds for apprehension if you are honest and straightforward,” said Wajahat Habibullah, Chairperson, National Commission on Minorities, India.

However, the Secretary said the final implementation will depend on the response of the people and debates that will go on among leaders. “If majority of the public say we don’t want another act, we can’t push it through. Then it depends on what kind of debate it takes in parliament.”

He added that it can be sensitive in some ways. “It could be passed in one session or it might take more than one, it is difficult to say. It depends on how much people really understand it,” Dasho said.

The RTI Bill, which is still being drafted, will be tabled for discussion during winter session of the parliament. But before that, the Secretary said the draft would be taken to public for broader discussion and understanding.

4 Comments for “RTI Act- Is it needed?”

  1. yangzom

    Those who are hesitant are people who are guilty and hands dipped in corruption. If you are clean, you need not fear. This country belongs to all bhutanese. As a citizen of this GNH country, I demand all explanation and info concerning my and our future. There is ofcourse question of national security, if you have done wrong in the past then it is time you pay for it or you commit suicide.

  2. dawa

    yup i feel bhutan sud ve right to information act.Transparency to people proves cleanliness in government.This is a must 4 a young marching democratic country like bhutan to ve a gud govt n its clean practices made clear cut in front of the people n win the trust of the people…..

  3. Pema

    what for? A small nation like ours will surely have more to hide than be completely inside out. There are lot of security concerns for a country like ours which is completely sorrounded by two super powers. No one will be there to help us if we are bullied. Providing such rights to people who may not even be responsible can put country at stake. At this time, people will only misuse the RTI rather than using for good reasons. So, why bother. Everything is running smooth as of now. Corruptions are being tackled well by ACC. Media might like to have info to make as much news as possible but you may not be necessarily responsible. so NO NEED. THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES IN BHUTAN.

  4. Sonamt

    Yup, i also agree. We need to have a public forum like BBC’s Hard Talk or NDTV’s We the People where elected govts are brought to book about the actions they take that affect our collective future. This will initially bring a reluctance among the officials to act, as they will cite that any actions they take will be scrutinised by the Public. These set of officials should then be given the chance to quit and make way for our young and unemployed. If an official has a pure heart, he will continue in office and explain his actions, past and future. I sense Dawa will make a great host.

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