This morning (25) number of HRDs and media persons made a request to RTI commission to allow videotape of the proceedings of hearing of the RTI requests filed by 200 local residents whose houses were damaged in the last stretch of the central highway from Mirigama to Kurunegala.
They demand that the information be released within 48 hours as per S. 25.3 of the Right to Information Act, where institutions are required to respond within 48 hours if the matter concerns a citizen’s life or personal freedom.
The letter of request fellows:
25th October 2023
The Director General
Right to Information Commission
RTIC/Appeal/1096.2023 – 2nd Nov. 2023 – 11 am – Video coverage
The above appeal is one linked to the right to life, right to health, right to housing, right to livelihood, etc., of hundreds of residents around Kurunegela who are aggrieved by the Central Expressway project. This includes persons who have requested the information and on whose behalf the appeal has been submitted. This is also a matter of public interest and may have implications for future such projects.
It is practically not possible for all the aggrieved, concerned and interested persons to be present at the hearing, considering the distance, time, costs, space in the room appeal hearings are usually held etc.
In this context, I and a few other concerned persons have planned to video the proceedings to enable all to get accurate and full information about the proceedings at the Commission. It will help prevent or minimize unintentional gaps, misinformation or mistakes in sharing information about the proceedings at the Commission. And will help advance the right to information, freedom of speech and expression including publication as guaranteed in Article 14 of the Constitution.
Thus, we kindly request to ensure the environment and facilities that will help video the proceedings of this and other hearings in the future.
We would like to ensure videoing will not cause any disturbance to the hearings or inconvenience to the Commission or those participating in the hearing, and thus, will also appreciate receiving in advance any guidelines from the Commission.
M. F. M. Fazeer, Secretary, Young Journalists Association
Nirosh Maithree, Chief Editor, www.news19.lk
Chanaka Karunaratne, Director, Citizen Voice Media Network
Chairperson and all Commissioners of the Right to Information Commission
Sanjeewa Kulathilake, applicant
Tharindu Jayawardhana, Centre for Society and Religion, representative of the applicant