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03.03.2005 General News

MDAs must appraise Information Bill

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Accra, March 3, GNA - Mr James Ampadu, Director, Ministry of Information, on Thursday called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to thoroughly apprise themselves with the Right to Information Bill, which is now in its drafting stages. He said that was necessary because the MDAs were to be the responsible institutions to give out information on behalf of the Government.

Mr Ampadu, who was explaining points on the draft Bill to participants at a day's workshop in Accra, said the Bill had been widely circulated and many people had made contributions to enrich it. All the same the Bill needed to be enriched in such a manner that when it went to the Cabinet and found its way to Parliament it could be passed.

The workshop organised by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) with support from USAID suggested several amendments to the Bill. Mr Godwin Adagewine, Lawyer and Programme Officer LRC, taking the participants through the "Right to Information Bill: A Legal Perspective" said the right to information had its root in the 1992 Constitution.

He said the Media had the obligation to uphold the principles of accountability in governance and to be able to undertake that obligation effectively the law had to give them a backing and the perimeters within which to operate.

Mr Abdul Baasit Abdul Aziz, Director of Programmes and Projects of LRC, said through the effort of the Centre some bills had been withdrawn from Parliament, some were amended and some of them, which had been passed into law had received the attention of the Centre. He said the Right to Information Bill needed the full participation of the public so that when it was passed it would promote democracy and good governance.