The 14th session of the program series ‘RTI to the village’ organized by the Ministry of Mass Media in collaboration with AFRIEL Youth Network was held on 28th September at the city hall, Bandarawela.
More than 1300 local residents participated in the ‘RTI to the Village’ mobile service held in parallel to the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
Inaugural session of this program was conducted with the initiation of Asst. Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media M.P. Bandara, Additional District Secretary, Kandy J.C. Ranepura and the Executive Director of the AFRIEL Youth Network, Ravindra De Silva.
During the first session, it was explained how to achieve solutions to the problems faced by the citizens through the Right to Information Act and the legal appeals procedure to be followed against the state institutes which disregard the right to information.
The participants were divided into 15 groups and their problems were discussed separately, providing necessary guidance in submitting applications to obtain needed information to solve their problems was done in the second session. It was noteworthy that in this program, over 2500 applications were submitted by the people to get essential information over their lifelong issues.
A video prepared to be presented to UNESCO on recent achievements by the citizens using the Right to Information act was screened in this program with the intervention of the Commission Council for Right to Information and Mr. Suranga Lakmal, producer of the video did a further clarification about it. This video was also released the next day (29) by UNESCO.
Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media, M.P. Bandara addressing the audience, said that many citizens were relieved by the ‘RTI to the Village’ program organized by the Ministry of Mass Media & the AFRIEL Youth Network and many prevailing issues were laid to rest. He further said that plans are made to hold this program in several other districts.
Mr. J.C. Ranepura, Additional Secretary, Kandy stated that information can easily be obtained from state institutes under the Right to Information Act regarding various issues such as non-receipt of relief including Samurdhi, problems with development projects and injustices caused by public officials and he further explained the procedures to be followed practically, filling the applications.
Ravindra de Silva, Executive Director of the AFRIEL Youth Network, said as this act has the capability to obtain needed information while remaining within the legal framework, all should try to resolve their issues peacefully without colliding with the government officials.