Staff Correspondent:Around 78% youths, the most potential group of the population, do not know anything about the Right to Information (RTI) Act although it is considered that information empowers common people and ensures accountability, according to a study.
The Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI), a development organisation, came up with this sorry picture after conducting a survey with 706 juveniles in eight districts.
The RTI Act is a law by which anyone can have access to information in any offices of Bangladesh.
Among the 22.2% of youths, who are aware of the act, 14% think getting information is tough albeit there is a law. Further, 11% think people might go through harassment and threat by the officials concerned after filing an RTI application, said the MRDI while unveiling the study at a programme titled “RTI campaign for youth: Lessons they learnt” held in the capital yesterday.
The MRDI also conducted a training programme in March on RTI among the youth in Barisal, Rangpur and Jashore to raise awareness. Some youngsters have already filed RTI with different offices, seeking various information. They shared their irritating experience at the programme.
One of them, Babul Hossen from Jashore, said, “I have filed an RTI with a government hospital seeking information on its two years’ budget and expenses as well as the condition of the operating out-of-order machines. Twenty days have gone by, but I have not got any information from them.”
“Government officers have a lack of positive attitude toward providing information and we are doubtful if they have proper knowledge on RTI,” he noted.
While addressing the programme as chief guest, Chief Information Commissioner Martuza Ahmed said the officers who are involved in corruption want to hide information and show a negative attitude towards information seekers.
But the RTI Act has provisions to punish the people who will not provide information, he added.
He then urged all to file more RTI applications for getting information to ensure accountability in the country.
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