‘Right to Information’ (RTI) has been accepted as a fundamental human right by the United Nations. More than 123 countries have enacted RTI laws to facilitate their citizens with an easy access to government held information. This results in greater transparency, eradication of corruption, favoritism and nepotism in the system. In other words, the citizen’s right to information results in good governance.
RTI is a powerful instrument to fight against corruption. Good governance is characterized by political accountability, availability of freedom, bureaucratic accountability, availability of information, law abiding citizens and cooperation between government and society. Therefore, RTI is a natural corollary of good governance. Enactment of RTI laws paves way to an open and transparent form of government. In such systems every citizen has right to seek and receive information from government departments. Thus citizen can make administration more responsible and transparent leading to good governance.
Access to information is crucial for good governance as it reflects the activities of government. If people do not know what is happening in their society, if the actions of those who rule them are hidden, then they cannot participate in the affairs of government. Access to information not only promotes openness, transparency and accountability in administration but also facilitates active participation of people in the democratic governance processes. Moreover RTI is a powerful tool and its implementation ensures other rights already promised in the constitution.
In contemporary era, public participation in government matters, respect for rule of law, freedom of expression and association, transparency and accountability, legitimacy of government, and the like which are the core values of good governance, can be materialized only if RTI is implemented in its true letter and spirit.
Thus, it can be rightly mentioned that RTI is an agent of good governance and it makes administration more accountable to the people. It makes people aware of administration and gives them an opportunity to take part in decision making process. It reduces the chances of corruption and abuse of authority by public servants. Since RTI laws are enacted for people‘s interest, its success also depends upon how citizens exercise their right to know. Moreover, there is need of active participation from people,, civil society groups, government officials and departments to aware masses and raise demand for the implementation of RTI in Pakistan.
Nabila Nazir (Guest Blogger)
Note: The views expressed by guest blogger and the comments given by any visitor do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Pakvoter.