by Melani Manel Perera
An organisation representing journalists and media hold press conference in which they slam politicians for fearing freedom of information. They note that Sri Lanka is the only nation in South Asia that does not have a law guaranteeing freedom of information.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Sri Lanka needs a bill to protect freedom of information, even if politicians “fear” such a law and would rather see us “kept in the dark”, the Citizen’s Rights and Collective of Media Organization (CRCMO) said at a press conference held last Wednesday in Colombo. In fact, the group noted that Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia that has no ‘right to information’ law, something that has already been adopted in more than 80 countries in the world.
Now more than ever, there is “a need to empower people” and develop a political culture in which all agencies of the government are “accountable to the people”. For this reason, CRMCO is organising an ‘Awareness Raising” day for 5 July.
Being informed on all issues is an essential prerequisite to keep politicians accountable and limit any possible abuses of power, it said.
For Gamini Viyangoda, a member of the organisation, “The government is always trying to keep people in the dark. However, citizens have a right to know what happens to them and in what circumstances.”
In September 2010, opposition lawmaker Karu Jayasuriya introduced a Freedom of Information bill to parliament. At the time, the government put the proposal on hold, promising that it would draft its own bill.
Seven months later, nothing has been done. Hence, last month Jayasuriya submitted his own proposal, again.