Accra, Jan. 5, GNA – Amnesty International (AI) Ghana, on Thursday called for immediate publication of findings of the Parliamentary Task Force on Right to Information Bill (RTI), to update the citizenry on the extent of its information gathering.
The call is as a result of seeming delays the RTI had experienced, even though it is expected to champion the cause of the citizenry regarding access to information in the country, when passed into law.
A release signed by Mr Lawrence Amesu, Director of AI Ghana, copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra, expressed worry that 2011 had passed without the passage of the RTI bill.
It said the organisation was aware that the call by civil society over the years for a Right to Information law had received attention of the government.
Consequently, a Parliamentary Committee was formed and tasked to solicit views of Ghanaians on the issue.
The release said: “Amnesty International is aware that the Parliamentary Task Force has held various regional fora to collect and collate information from the public to this effect.
“Amnesty International (and indeed the Coalition on the Right To Information) is worried that the findings of the task force is not yet made public to pave way for the next line of action towards the passage of the bill which had been laid before Parliament well over a year now”.
The release expressed worry that RTI bill might be swept under the carpet until after the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
It said: “2012 is an election year in Ghana and typical about election years, electioneering and related activities will become priority focus of Parliamentarians and indeed the Executive arm of Government. Amnesty International is concerned and worried that the RTI bill may be swept under the carpet until probably well after the elections”.
The release appealed to Parliament to give the bill a priority among the list of bills waiting for its consideration.
It said AI was working in solidarity with the Coalition on the Right to Information in the campaign for the passage of the important bill into law.
The release called on the Coalition to step up its efforts to ensure that the bill would be passed into law before electioneering begun and intensified.
“Amnesty International is calling on the Ghanaian Media and the general public to continue to support the campaign for the immediate passage of the Right to Information Law,” it said.