A group of activists in Islamabad protested on Thursday over the recently passed ‘Right of Access to Information Bill 2017’, claiming that the bill in its current form was weak and restrictive.
Activists from the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) along with other activists gathered outside the National Press Club and protested against the bill.
They expressed concerns over the bill which had been approved by the Senate earlier on May 29, 2017. They emphasised that in its current form it was ineffective and prohibitive like the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002, which it seeks to repeal.
It was also highlighted that access to information was facing a massive challenge, especially at the federal level. They urged that the RTI Bill 2017 approved by the Senate should be revisited after taking suggestions from civil society organisations, information experts and journalists.
They further insisted that it was high time that the citizens are empowered with their constitutionally guaranteed right of access to information and hoped that the newly appointed prime minister, unlike those in the past, would pay heed to the matter.
CPDI Executive Director Amer Ejaz said that the Right of Access to Information Bill 2017 falls short of meeting key standards of effective right to information legislation such as defining one clear and a narrowly drawn list of exempted information and the rest should be declared public.