A campaign by the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) for the passage of the Right to Information Bill has received a major boost as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu assured that the Bill will be introduced to Parliament before it rises on 23 March, 2018.
According to him there was a crunch Cabinet meeting on Thursday for final approval of the draft bill for its introduction to Parliament.
Dean of the PPC, Nana Kwesi Agyeman Birikorang at a Press Briefing in Parliament House yesterday emphasized the need for the Executive to expedite action on the Bill for its urgent introduction to the legislature.
“The PPC sincerely believes that as a group of journalists who cover daily proceedings of Parliament and a major stakeholder in the RTI Bill, it won’t be out of place if we urge Parliament not to cause any further delay whenever the RTI is brought before it for consideration and subsequent passage” he stated.
Nana Birikorang urged the Executive expedite action on resolving the two outstanding issues concerning the draft bill for its prompt introduction to Parliament.
“From our reliable checks we are fully aware that two main issues need to be considered when the Bill is before Parliament.
1. The issue of considering whether the country should have a central laboratory where those seeking to access information can go or there should be a reference centre where those seeking information can go and be directed to certain places for the required information.
2. The kind of information that should be made available to the citizenry seeking for the information because some information needs to be classified.
When all these have been addressed we believe the Executive and the Legislature have no excuse than to pass the Bill which will go a long way to enhance our work as journalists” the Dean noted.
The Press Corps believes that waiting for theresolution of all issues surrounding the bill before its introduction before Parliament must not be accepted because laws must be tested to make it better.
“In any case, it is when a Bill is passed into law and it’s tested before any gray area or loopholes can be detected. So we are asking the Executive and Parliament to pass the Bill and later if necessary an amendment can be done to achieve its purpose.
We hope our concerns will be addressed with immediate effect” Mr Agyeman concluded.
Members of the Parliamentary Press Corps were yesterday cladded in branded T- shirts demanding the passage of the Right to Information bill which has been back and forth in Parliament for close to two decades.