Implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI-2009) in the selected upazilas of Mymensingh district
AuthorKarim, Md. Fakrul
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The Right to Information is referred to in various ways across the world. Some talk of ‘freedom of information’, while others about ‘access to information’ or ‘the right to know’. However, all these terms have got the same meaning – people have the human right to seek and receive government held information. Freedom of information is a fundamental human right, as declared by the United Nations in 1948. The law on the right to information enables the citizens to seek information from the duty-bearers who are legally bound to provide it. Now, it is the era of information. Today, information is a power as well an asset. Nobody can hide information regarding service- oriented issues and facts. It is primary duty of the civil servant or officials to provide relevant information to the citizens/clients. Prior to enact Right to Information (RTI) in Bangladesh, there was a tendency to hide or disrupt information. Peoples suffered due to the lack of authentic information at the right time. Bangladesh recently joined the group of more than 70 nations when it enacted the Right to Information (RTI-2009) Act with the objective to ensure people’s access to information which is vital for transparency and accountability, two major ingredients of a true democracy. The right to information is considered to be a fundamental human right everywhere in the world. RTI-2009 Act is aimed to establish transparency and accountability in the overall system of governance in the country through people's access to information in the public sector. The first two countries have the RTI law in Finland and Sweden in 1766. During that time Finland was a territory government. The main objective of this Act is to provide with due service and to citizens. In Bangladesh, The Right to Information (RTI) Act was passed on March 29, 2009. Today, RTI-2009 Act is functioning in all public and private organizations except military and corporate organization in Bangladesh. The rationale of this Act is related to people’s sovereignty. It is necessary to ensure right to information for their empowerment. Now, it is time, to make an assessment the overall position of RTI-2009 in administration, media/civil society, and service recipients and how they traced it to establish public governance in Bangladesh. This study was conducted to assess the present issues and challenges and/or experiences to implement RTI-2009 Act in the district administration of the Government especially in that of Mymensingh district. Mymensingh is an old district in Bangladesh and most of the offices of the Government found here. RTI-2009 Act is functioning in each and every office in Mymensingh. Out of 12 upazilas in Mymensingh district administration, 4 upazilas- Mymensingh sadar, Trishal, Muktagacha and Fulbaria were selected as a selective sampling, then 30 personnel were interviewed through a set of questionnaire and nonformal discussion. From service recipient’s side, there were taken four case studies for both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The outcomes of my thesis will help to understand as well as to introduce appropriate policy measures to overcome the existing issues and challenges in implementing RTI-2009 in Bangladesh. This thesis will also further help to take action plan in district administration for the fulfillment of the citizen’s demand as per RTI-2009. Further research will be carried out in different district administration in Bangladesh to find out the appropriate policy measures at the macro-level.