RTI in Sri Lanka can be a ‘game changer’ for transparency and accountability – Nikkei Asian Review

Marwaan Macan-Markar, an experienced journalist of Lankan origin, has just written a story on Sri Lanka’s new Right to Information (RTI) for Nikkei Asian Review for which he is Asia regional correspondent.

nikkei-rti

Titled Sri Lanka’s new information law puts corrupt officials in crosshairs, it is an informative article with multiple sources and field-based reporting.

The article says that the new law that came into effect on Feb. 3 “holds out a promise that the public can intervene and query investments in state-backed projects while they are still on the drawing board.”

It is an unprecedented weapon that analysts describe as a “game changer” for transparency and accountability in Sri Lanka’s political life, argues the writer.

He adds: “The enforcement of this law in Sri Lanka, now among 110 countries globally with RTI statutes, brings into sharp relief the challenge of battling rampant corruption. The country continues on a downward slide in global corruption rankings, with Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index placing Sri Lanka 95th out of 176 countries surveyed in 2016, down from 83rd in 2015 — a setback for the first two years of a coalition government under Sirisena, who defeated Rajapaksa by campaigning for ‘good governance’.”

Elsewhere, the article says: “However, the RTI law is set to face an early trial of the extent of its reach: Will the incumbent administration open itself to embarrassing information queries? That will be a tough test, warned parliamentarian [Sunil] Handunnetti at an RTI seminar in Colombo. He fears political interference.”

Read full article: Sri Lanka’s new information law puts corrupt officials in crosshairs

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