Kofi Abotsi, the former Dean of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, has stated that the right to information bill is more to the benefit of the government than the public.
“The RTI bill gives the government the opportunity of stating certain circumstances under which a person may not be entitled to certain information,” Mr. Abotsi said Thursday on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM.
His comment contrasts that of Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, K.T. Hammond on November 1, who said the passage of the Right to Information Bill into law will cause the government to lose exclusivity to certain vital information.
According to Mr. Hammond, although RTI law will be useful for journalists and other people seeking information, it may not necessarily augur well for governance in the country.
“You need peace of mind to run a government. You need to concentrate and if you have a bill and before the ink dries on it, somebody is asking you to ‘bring this document’…to the extent that we are talking about communication between the president, the vice president, and cabinet, potentially, there will be no secret in government.”
However, Mr. Abotsi explained, “It is important for parliament to pass the RTI bill to help the government and its administrations protect vital state information that should not be out in the public.”
“Parliament is supposed to detail out and state the exception or circumstances in the RTI bill under which a person can be denied when claims are made to access to a particular information,” he added.
He explained some information like the total quantum of amour available to the armed forces, issues affecting territorial integrity among others that can jeopardise the stability of the country, should not be released for justifiable technical reasons.
Also, Elvis Darko, Editor of the Finder newspaper affirmed on the Super Morning Show the right to information law did not provide details which individuals needed to go through to access the information.
“The constitution did not also provide the timeline that a request should take in order for an information to be released,” he noted.
He said the RTI law will provide and expand the details that were not stipulated in the constitution.
Mr. Darko explained the right to information is for all Ghanaians to help push forward the development of the country.
He urged Ghanaians to support the Media Coalition in getting parliament to pass the bill so it could benefit everyone including the government.