KATHMANDU, August 19: Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, has said the government is effortful to bring prosperity in the country by assimilating the democratic norms and values.
In his address to a program organized by the National Information Commission (NIC) to mark the 16th National Information Day here today, the minister who also serves as the spokesperson for the government said the incumbent government is committed to democracy.
"The government is following the path of prosperity and there is no counter argument that right to information (RTI) is the strong base for democracy, but the question is what instruments are there for making this foundation consolidated. Only the establishment of an institution is not enough for achieving the given goals. I hope the celebration of the Day will have its role in promoting the RTI Act and in implementing it effectively," the Minister said.
Minister Karki insisted on the need for the people's right to opinion and freedom of expression, protection of the freedom of the press and the citizens' right to information to make the government more accountable to the people in a democratic system.
Elevated status of freedom of expression and disclosure of public information will contribute to strengthening human rights and democracy, according to the minister, who also pointed out the need for a wider and easier access to information to make public bodies more accountable to the people and cultivate people's faith in state affairs.
As the minister asserted, he wanted the state, government and public bodies to perform and deliver in an open, transparent and responsible way as per the democratic norms and values.
The minister went on to say that the constitutional and legal guarantee of the RTI would not automatically establish the right in practice, but it requires political willingness and commitments, integrity, proactive disclosure, awareness, sensitivity and transparency on the part of public agencies for its de-facto enforcement.
As the minister said, a discourse on the need for RTI laws has been more intense on this day and time demands the attention and efforts from all quarters to find ways for its effectiveness. "The RTI Act is needed for strengthened democracy and it is the major foundation for achieving good governance."
Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Chair Bipul Pokhrel asserted that the people must have access to information of all state apparatuses to keep democracy alive while Chief Information Commissioner Mahendra Man Gurung appraised the program that the RTI has already reached to the people's level and it is a tool to make the citizens sovereign.
The Day was observed this year with the slogan of "Information is our rights: base of good governance and development."
It may be noted that Bhadau 3 each year in the Nepali calendar is observed as the National Information Day to commemorate the declaration of the enforcement of the RTI Act on August 20, 2007 (Bhadau 3, 2064 BS). That Act was issued by the then Interim Parliament on July 21 the same year.