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December 16, 2014 - Comments Off on KPK and Punjab Public Bodies Consistently Fail to Comply with RTI Laws

KPK and Punjab Public Bodies Consistently Fail to Comply with RTI Laws

Provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) have failed to comply with their respective Right to Information (RTI) laws, as the year long research reports indicates.

Lahore, January 1, 2015:

Annual research report titled ‘The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies’ reaffirms earlier findings that public bodies in both the provinces have failed to comply with their own right to information laws. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab public bodies are required to proactively disclose categories of information mentioned in Sections 5 and 4 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 and Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013,  respectively.

This report was an effort initiated by Coalition of Right to Information (CRTI) and Digital Rights Foundations with a broader aim to measure how public bodies have been using the web. With advancements of technologies, it has become crucial for public bodies to start using their web presence more effectively in order to promote good governance and reduce corruption. This research scaled if the government departments are keeping properly maintained websites and promoting citizens' feedback. However, the primary purpose of these quarterly reports was to measure against respective RTI laws if the bodies were complying with their own laws.

While civil society and citizens appreciate elected governments of Punjab and KPK for having passed their local RTI laws, it is disappointing to see the unwillingness of public bodies to comply with those regulations. What was even more surprising though was the discovery that Information Commission of Punjab and Information Department of KPK even lack a website of their own. If the information commissions are themselves not promoting RTI laws and lack web presence and / or conformity to RTI laws, how do they expect other departments to uphold those policies?

As pointed in our earlier quarterly reports, this final report of year 2014 also kept up with the finding of having no example where a department has disclosed information about recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by the public bodies. Transparency will not witness any improvement if information commissions and local government do not promote their departments to proactively disclose financial information, concessions, and benefits their employees receive as it is an important way forward to good governance.

A lot has to be done by the KPK and Punjab Information Commissions to ensure that public bodies comply with the right to information laws,  present information in user-friendly way proactively, and promote raising awareness of citizens' right to information and their required feedback in governance.

Link to the report: Proactive Disclosure Report 

Contact: nighat@digitalrightsfoundation.pk

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“Coalition of Right to Information seeks to promote an open information and communications policies at the federal, provincial and district levels across Pakistan. With various initiatives, the coalition of civil society organizations aims to promote citizen awareness and improve dialogue between the citizens and state.”

 

Digital Rights Foundation is a research based advocacy organisation based in Pakistan focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and better digital governance. DRF opposes any and all sorts of online censorship and violations of human rights both on ground and online. We firmly believe that freedom of speech and open access to online content is critically important for the development of socio-economy of the country. www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk

 

November 11, 2014 - Comments Off on “The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies” Research Report Released

“The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies” Research Report Released

Lahore, November 11, 2014:

The second quarterly of research report ‘The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies’ reaffirms our earlier finding that public bodies in both provinces are not complying with their respective right to information laws. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab public bodies are required to proactively disclose categories of information mentioned in Sections 5 and 4 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 and Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.

The broader aim of this research report, conducted by Digital Rights Foundation, a member organization of Coalition on Right to Information’, (CRTI) is to measure how public bodies have been using the web and making it easier for citizens in the processes of getting information and filing requests. Major aim of this effort is also to promote public bodies who are proactively sharing information with citizens on self-basis.

The current report indicates a serious lack of maintenance of websites by departments. In the process of doing research for the current report, many websites were found in the same state as they were during the previous quarter, in terms of both their conformation with RTI laws and updating their websites with regular news and information. Which shows that while the public bodies have adopted to the latest web standards and have created and somewhat maintained a web presence, there is a significant lack of tangible reforms adopted to implement key sections of the respective laws of the provinces. Specifically, the public bodies do not share information pertaining to public employees’ remuneration, benefits, and any other privileges in line with the provisions of their provincial right to information laws.

The coalition and DRF has decided to add the websites of information commissions of both the provinces in the next phase of this research report. Commissions are expected to be a role model for other governmental bodies when it comes to have a maintained websites sharing information proactively with citizens on self-basis along with outlining proper procedures with named contacts for citizens to ask queries.

Digital Rights Foundation urges Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission and Punjab Information Commission to ensure public bodies comply with the right to information laws and make available information specified for proactive disclosure under relevant provisions of provincial right to information laws. The websites of these aforementioned commissions will be included in the next quarterly report.

Link to the report: Proactive Disclosure Report

Contact: nighat@digitalrightsfoundation.pk

– End –

 

“Coalition of Right to Information seeks to promote an open information and communications policies at the federal, provincial and district levels across Pakistan. With various initiatives, the coalition of civil society organizations aims to promote citizen awareness and improve dialogue between the citizens and state.”

 

Digital Rights Foundation is a research based advocacy organisation based in Pakistan focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and better digital governance. DRF opposes any and all sorts of online censorship and violations of human rights both on ground and online. We firmly believe that freedom of speech and open access to online content is critically important for the development of socio-economy of the country. www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk