Forum on Right to Information


Blog brethrens…take note!

Many of us would have had the problem accessing information which we are often entitled to, but thanks to a system of bureaucratic runaround and cover-your-own-ass, we don’t get them.

Learn more about what you as a citizen can expect. Turn up tomorrow, but call first. Places are limited.

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Right to Information Forum, organized by TI-Malaysia (TI_M) and The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

Transparency International – Malaysia and The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) are jointly organising a series of dialogues on Right to Information and its benefits to society.

It is a short programme that would discuss issues related to right to information and local experiences of how lack of information impedes good governance.

We would like to invite journalists and bloggers to attend the awareness workshop which will be held:

Date:  27th May (Wed), 2009

Time:  7:30pm -10pm

Venue:  National Press Club, 84, Jalan Tangsi, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.

Participants: Media, NPC members, Bloggers

Speakers: H.R Dipendra (South East Asia Media Defence Network)
Noel Dass (Center For Public Policy Studies)

Light food and refreshments will be served

Those who wish to attend, please contact Usha Devi at 012-3707787 or 03-2284 0630( Santha-TI-M secretariat) as places are limited.

A little background.

Right to Information and its benefits to society on improving governance, transparency and accountability in Malaysia

Introduction

One of the most effective tools in the fight against corruption is right to information – the public’s right to request and receive information from the government. Right to information is a long established principle and a cornerstone of international law. It has been heralded by the UN General Assembly as “a fundamental human right and a touchstone of all freedoms to the United Nations is consecrated”. By holding the government to account for their decision-making processes and public expenditures, right to information can increase government transparency and reduce any gaps that exist between official and public knowledge.

Information is the prerequisite for effective civil society participation and monitoring of government activities. Free access to information enables law-enforcement agencies, citizens, and the media to uncover cases of corruption and maladministration. More importantly, however, the transparency herewith achieved acts as a deterrent to bad governance as the risk of detection of illicit or otherwise questionable practices increases. Right to information is thus an essential element of sustainable corruption control.

Right to information encompasses three main elements:
➢    the public’s right to request information
➢    the government’s corresponding duty to provide the information requested
➢    an obligation on the authorities to proactively publish information of public interest at regular intervals.

Although exemptions to disclosures will exist, they should be subject to the overriding
principle that all information should be disclosed, unless the harm caused by disclosure is
greater than the public interest in accessing information. The information should be
accessible in a user-friendly, cheap, quick and simple way and the government should be
required to conduct ongoing training for government officials and educate the public on
the right to information.

Forum objectives and aims
The ultimate aim of the Forum is to generate public support for a Right to Information law.

The Forum/Dialogue will:

•    Introduce participants to the basic principles of Right to Information objective.
•    Engage participants on how Right to Information can improve local governance.
•    Promote the UN Convention on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC) and Right to Information as essential rights for a fair, transparent and accountable government.
Proposed Participants to be invited

➢    Bar Council representatives
➢    Representatives from the electronic, print and broadcast media
➢    State government officials
➢    NGO representatives
➢    State Anti Corruption Agency
➢    Resident’s association
➢    Academics
➢    Businesses
➢    Public

Forum Format – Half Day Forum (Dialogue – Presentation and Q & A)

The session will begin with a presentation on the basic principles of RTI and where applicable, sharing of cases of local communities in their efforts to access public information. This will be followed by a discussion through questions and answers. Sessions that begin in the morning can end with a light lunch, while those starting later can incorporate refreshments for the forums.


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One thought on “Forum on Right to Information

  1. Moral dilemna!

    What’s up? Been just reading for a while and just decided to write!

    So something has been bugging me for a while now . Here’s what happened When I was done with school one day I headed out, I hadn’t eaten lunch so I stopped in at this restaurant and picked this sandwitch from the menu and took it to a table and sat down when I was done I remembered I didn’t pay!

    Yeah evidently they were super busy and distracted because there was this manager/investor type looking around everywhere and talking to them. So I was just about to go up to the counter and say I hadn’t paid but then I realized if I did that the owner guy might get mad at the employees. So I just left. What should I have done do you think?

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