Compliance of the provisions of RTI Act, 2009 by NGOs in Bangladesh : a case-study of BRAC
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Right to Information was first recognized by United Nations General Assembly through its Resolution adopted in 1946 and was stated as so, “Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated.” Article 19 of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) likewise recognizes right to information. In the same way Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR) has guaranteed right to information .These documents safeguarded right to information as integral part of freedom of expression. Same trend was followed in different regions The Press Commission in Bangladesh first raised the demand for disclosure of information in 1983 and made some recommendations. Demand for RTI from civil society and media got a concrete shape by the year 2004. Manusher Jonno Foundation facilitated forming a coalition named the RTI Forum. The RTI Forum placed a draft RTI Bill to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh and the Government published the gazette notification of the RTI Ordinance 2008, on 20 October. The newly formed elected government enacted the ordinance as RTI Act through notification in the Gazette on 6 April, 2009. The Act enables establishment of an unprecedented regime of right to information for the citizens of the country. It overrides the Official Secrets Act 1923 and similar laws and rules like the Evidence Act 1872, Rules of Business 1996, Government Service (Conduct) Rules 1979, and the oath (affirmation) of secrecy. Implementation of RTIA 2009 is apparently poor and so there is little progress in terms of fulfillment of the objectives of the law. In the context the present study aimed to discover the factors responsible for poor compliance of the law and find out remedial measures. For this study some government offices located in greater Rajshahi division were chosen. During research curiosity was to assess the perceived understanding and use of the law by the citizens, to get a clear picture of the constraints that the supply-side is suffering from and the requisite initiatives the government, the Information Commission and the administrative authority should undertake to sensitize the citizens in seeking pertinent information. There are some recommendations in line with the research outcomes for due consideration of the concerned authority.