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.


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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