|ULAB holds roundtable on RTI|
A roundtable entitled "Right to Information: The Law and our Experience" today has been hold by the Media Studies and Journalism (MSJ) Department of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) (www.ulab.edu.bd) on July 14 at 10am at the ULAB Auditorium, Campus A (opposite to Medinova) on Satmasjid Road in Dhanmondi.
Chief Information Commissioner Ambassador (retd) Muhammad Zamir was the guest of honour of the programme while other main speakers include Dhaka University Law Department Teacher Prof. Asif Nazrul, Barrister Tanzibul Alam, News Today Editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Massline Media Centre Executive Director Kamrul Hassan Manju, Former Acting Director General of Press Institute of Bangladesh Golam Kibriya took part in the programme.
ULAB VC Professor Imran Rahman gave address of welcome while Media Studies and Journalism Department Assistant Professor M Asiuzzaman moderated the programme.
The discussion kicked off with the experience of two ULAB MSJ Department students Adnan Rahman and Ariful Islam who tried to obtain some information from two different orgnaisations using RTI as part of their course work in previous term. They also told the audience about the huddle they faced in obtaining information from government and semi government offices implementing the RTI.
Chief Information Commissioner Muhammad Zamir said that the commission is still facing some issues regarding public awareness and lack of cooperation from the organizations in terms of appointing designated officers. He said there are about 3000 NGOs but only 532 assigned designated officers working for the providing information to the applicants. He sorts the support of the media both electronic and print for launching a public awareness programme regarding RTI and ultimate implementation of the act.
He mentioned that Bangladesh ranked 12th among 89 countries in terms of proper implementing of RTI by the Information Commission.
However criticizing the information commission, Barrister Tanzibul Alam said the commission failed to provide any guidelines even after 3 years of its formation. He also said that the web portal of the Information Commission is not very informative and updated.
Prof. Asif Nazrul said even after having the RTI we don’t get the information about what is going on inside the government which indicates that the journalists are not using the RTI in obtaining information.
Citing some of the recent issues like padma bridge, journalist couple murder case he said, information could be obtained under RTI if the law was effective enough. He gave examples from India. He urged both the public and private universities for forming RTI Forums among the students for proper implementing of RTI further.
Later the panel members answered questions from the students regarding proper implementation of RTI.