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25.01.2010 General News

Right to Info Bill for Parliament

By Daily Graphic
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould IddrisuAttorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould Iddrisu
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The Right to Information Bill which has been on the drawing board for years will go through the legislative process when Parliament reconvenes.

The bill, which received the approval of Cabinet in November 2009, was gazetted on Wednesday, January 20, 2010.

The gazetted bill has to wait for 14 days before the first reading and consideration in Parliament, which is scheduled to resume sitting tomorrow, Tuesday.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, told the Daily Graphic in Accra Sunday that "the consideration of this bill is part of our planned programme with Parliament for this parliamentary session".

The Right to Information Coalition (RTI)-Ghana, a civil society organisation which has been canvassing for the promulgation of the law, has plans to organise a public march involving civil society and mass groups on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 to mobilise support for the passage of the Bill.

Cabinet, at its last sitting in November last year, approved the bill, after a report submitted by its sub-committee that studied the draft memorandum.

The bill, when passed, will give journalists and the public the right to obtain information that otherwise would have been difficult to access from government officials and public institutions.

One of the strongest benefits of the bill is that it will help journalists refrain from propaganda and hearsay and rather rely on empirical evidence.

It will also give citizens more facts and a detailed understanding of issues.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) made the passage of the bill a campaign pledge and within a year of its administration it decided to pass the bill into law to facilitate access to official information.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said the Mills administration recognised the importance of the bill in the fight against corruption, adding that it would also enhance transparent, accountable and responsive governance.

She, therefore, appealed to Parliament to treat the consideration of the bill with utmost urgency.






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