Today marks the International Right to Know Day.
Since September 28 , 2002, Freedom on Information advocates have celebrated the day to raise awareness on the right to information, and to campaign for open and democratic societies in which citizens are empowered to be able to effectively participate in governance.
The advocates contend that the right of access to information is necessary for the enjoyment of other human rights.
The Freedom on Information campaigners reiterate that the right to information is essential for transparent and accountable government.
Additionally, they emphasised that the right to information makes possible the public involvement in formulating social policies in the decision-making processes towards advancing governance.
The advocates insist that the right to information can only be effectively exercised and implemented on the basis of laws regulating this right in accordance with international standards.
As we celebrate the day, we need to express concern that Ghana has been unable to pass the Freedom of Information bill.
It is a huge disappointment that the bill, which has been in Parliament for a while, has not yet been passed into law.
But, more disheartening is the fact that neither the executive nor parliamentary arm of government appear to attach a sense of urgency to the passage of the bill into law.
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Right to Know Day, we urge parliament to pass the bill before members finally raise it at the end of their term.
The country’s inability to pass the law paints a picture of a nation that is not ready to attach any importance to freedom of information.
Many countries around the world, who want to advance their democracy and transparent governance, have passed the law, and this is working in the interest of their people.
We are aware that the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), have always made it a campaign promise to pass the bill into law.
Unfortunately, they both have not fulfilled their promises, but we hold their governments and parliaments responsible for the delay in the passage of the bill.
We urge the Executive and Parliament to as a matter of urgency ensure the passage of the bill, before the new government assumes office next January.
In this way, we would be marking the International Right to Know Day, fully aware that we have a law that backs freedom of information in our country.
We wish all a fruitful celebration of the day.