Right to Information Month launched to increase awareness
This year’s Right to Information (RTI) Month has been launched with the aim to sustain the awareness creation efforts the RTI Commission has embarked upon.
The objective of the celebration this year is also to improve the deliberative platforms provided for the implementation of the law and best practices that have helped some pioneers of the RTI law to be successful in their jurisdiction.
The month-long celebration scheduled for this month is on the theme: “The Importance of the Online Space for Access to Information.”
The Right to Information Act, 2019 (ACT 989) was passed by the Parliament of Ghana in 2019, and assented to by the President same year to give constitutional right to access to information held by public institutions.
Its purpose is to promote transparency and accountability by empowering people to access information on central and local governments as well as non-governmental organisations, which are publicly funded.
Consequently, the RTI Commission was established to oversee the implementation of Act 989 and as part of its education, has set up the yearly celebrations in September.
Present at the launch were the Deputy Board Chairperson, Elizabeth Asare; board members, Nana Kwame Duah, David Oppon-Kusi, Victoria Susuawo; Head of the Commission’s Legal Team, Francis Owusu, and staff of the Commission.
In his address, the Board Chairman of the RTI Commission, Justice K. A. Ofori Atta (retd), said the celebration held immense significance in the ongoing commitment to advancing the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance and citizen empowerment through accessing information.
He explained that this year, the focus is on a theme which has become increasingly vital in the digital age.
“In the world where information travels at the speed of light and digital platforms have become central to how we communicate, collaborate and share knowledge, it is imperative that we recognise the transformative potential of the online space,” he said.
“As we navigate this theme throughout the month, we aim to highlight the fact that the digital world is not just a tool but a catalyst for democratising access to information like never before,” he noted.
Mr Ofori Atta further stated that the online space had really defined the way people saw, perceived and exercised their right to information, adding “it has revolutionalised the way persons interact with government agencies, public institutions and each other.”
Mr Ofori Atta added that throughout the month, his outfit would engage in dialogue and interactive sessions that aimed to foster a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the online space and the right to information.
“As we delve into the various dimensions of the theme, we will explore how the online space has enabled unprecedented levels of government transparency and accountability.”
“We will also address the challenges that come with these digital transformations such as the need to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of information, thereby guiding against misinformation and disinformation, safeguarding online privacy and promoting digital literacy,” he explained.
“We believe that by harnessing the potential of technology while upholding the values of accountability and accuracy, we can create a future where every citizen is not only a recipient of information, but an active participant in the democratic process,” he emphasised.
Some of the activities earmarked for the commemoration are a stakeholders’ engagement to be held on Thursday, September 14, at the British Council; a health walk and games on Saturday, September 16, at the Presbyterian Boys School at Legon, and a quiz on Act 989 on Sunday, September 24 at the GBC studios in Accra.
Also, a public lecture has been scheduled to coincide with the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on Thursday, September 28.