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Right to Information Act, 2009 : Touchstone of Progress

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In recent days the term ‘Right to information’ is becoming more familiar as it is of great significance for being associated with the fundamental human right “Freedom of information”; recognized by Resolution 59 of the very first session of UN General Assembly held in 1946 as well as by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948. In this specific article UDHR states that the fundamental right of freedom of expression includes the freedom “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Article 10(1) of European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), 1950 accords with the same. The general right of access to information is also included under Article 19(2) of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1976, of which covenant Bangladesh has become a party on 6 Sep, 2000. But these are not the inaugural recognition of freedom of information. In fact, it was Sweden which passed its Freedom of the Press Act in 1766, about 200 years before the UN resolution was even adopted. Such erstwhile existence of the right to information laws proves that free access to information is a must to fulfill all other rights in a democratic society. In Bangladesh, Article 7 and 11 of our Constitution reinforce the power of the people by declaring the republic as a democracy and guarantying human rights. Therefore, it implicitly recognizes peoples’ right to information through Article 39, which formulates freedom of thought, conscience and speech as fundamental rights. Referring to these constitutional obligations in its preamble The Right To Information Act (RTIA), 2009 (Act No. XX of 2009) was enacted by the current government on March, 2009 to make provisions for ensuring free flow of information and peoples’ right to information. Through this statute the Government of Bangladesh is now pledged bound to guarantee access to... Show More

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