The President, John Dramani Mahama, has said he is frustrated at the continuous delay in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.
The Bill, which has been in and out of Parliament for over a decade, is yet to be passed despite its enormous benefit of enhancing access to information in the country.
Speaking at UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication talks in France, President Mahama said “unfortunately it will go down in history as the legislation that has stayed the longest in Parliament.”
Cabinet approved it
“Ghana has probably the highest saturation; we have aside from the Constitution put in the legislation to guarantee freedom of information and access to information. I must say unfortunately it will go down in history as the legislation that has stayed the longest in Parliament. Cabinet approved it, we submitted it to Parliament, I don’t know where it is.”
The President noted that the bill has suffered some setbacks because of lack of consensus.
“It has been at the committee level, the committee decided to go round the country and consult on the Freedom of Information bill. Some say it is too liberal, some say it is too tight and it should be made more liberal and so Parliament is still working on it. It was submitted to Parliament in the term of the last president and it has continued in my term and I believe that it is something that we should complete and make available so that people will have a legal basis for demanding information if there is a reluctance to give the information to them,” he added.
Many advocates of free speech have criticized successive governments for their lack of interest in ensuring that the Bill is passed.
Group slams Mahama for delaying passage of RTI Bill
The Right to Information (RTI) Coalition on Monday expressed disappointment in President Mahama’s leadership for failing to ensure the passage of the right to information legislation in the country.
According to the Coalition, “President Mahama has not demonstrated strong commitment to the passage of the RTI Bill, despite his party’s promises in their 2008 and 2012 manifestos.”
By: Godwin A.Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana