• Last Update 2022-01-21 19:28:00

Transparency International concerned by delays in RTI Commission appointments

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Transparency International of Sri Lanka (TISL) on Monday expressed concern over the government’s failure to appoint commissioners to the Right to Information (RTI) Commission after its first term ended two months ago.

 

In a statement, TISL said for the past two months the Commission has been unable to function without its commissioners. The tenure of the first RTI Commission of Sri Lanka ended on September 30TH this year.

Subsequent to this the Parliamentary Council of Sri Lanka called for nominations from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, civil society organisations, editors and media persons and organizations of publishers, for the post of RTI Commissioners. The Parliamentary Council is reported to have received over 20 nominations for the Commission appointments, the statement said. 

The RTI Commission, which is the central appellate and monitoring body established under the Right to Information Act of Sri Lanka, is one of the most important independent public institutions in the country today. The Commission is empowered to play a critical role under the RTI law, including hearing matters on appeal, making recommendations for reform, issuing guidelines on record management and proactive disclosure, investigating and prosecuting alleged offences committed and awareness-raising.

 

TISL said during a recent Cabinet media briefing, Minister of Mass Media Dullas Allahaperuma speaking to the media emphasised the importance of the continued functioning of the RTI Commission and noted that it is the role of the Parliamentary Council to make nominations to the President for the posts and for the President to ultimately make the appointments. 

 

“Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports of many RTI requests being delayed or rejected resulting in an increased number of appeals to the Commission which will lead to serious delays in citizens obtaining information.  Earlier this year, TISL highlighted the importance of appointing independent commissioners to the RTI Commission. The continued functioning of the RTI Commission through the appointment of independent commissioners is an essential safeguard for the constitutionally guaranteed right to information of the people,” the statement said. 

 

Expressing its deep concern, TISL urged the Parliamentary Council and the President to expedite the appointment of independent commissioners to the RTI Commission, without further delay.

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