State Media Wise Up To RTI, Workshop Held

IMPHAL, Apr 10: A media workshop on Right to Information was organized today at Manipur Press Club by the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) under the sponsorship of the State Academy of Training.

Speaking at the inaugural session as chief guest, State Information Commissioner Ch Birendra said that the RTI Act was enacted to empower people and make democracy more meaningful.

People have the right to know about the various programs, schemes and projects taken up by the Government with money collected from the public as various taxes.

But information which can harm national security, or related to defense or which can upset diplomatic relations between different countries  and other sensitive information related  to economic policy of the country are not covered by the RTI Act, Birendra explained.

Nevertheless, various other information can be elicited and gathered by exercising this Act.

The Government needs to take pro-active roles in order to ensure that the people can fully exploit the Act, he asserted.

If the Act can be implemented in its true spirit, trust level between the Government and the public can be vastly improved.

As for the State Information Commission, it can recommend public authorities to provide information sought by the public, Birendra said.

Earlier giving the key-note address of the work- shop, State Academy of Training Additional Director Kh Raghumani highlighted the need for media to monitor constantly and check whether the RTI Act is implemented or not.

He also underscored the importance of informing the public about the difficulties of exercising RTI Act as well as the success stories of invoking the Act.

AMWJU president Khogendra Khomdram said that the media can supply valuable information to the public by using RTI Act and that was why the workshop was organized for media persons.

The workshop was divided into two sessions with senior journalist Irengbam Arun moderating the first one.

During this session, State Information Commissioner Ch Birendra spoke on the topic “Role of Information in Promoting RTI Act” as Art and Culture Commissioner RK Nimai elucidated on the topic “Official Secret Act and RTI”.

The second session was moderated by IIS (retd) Consultant, RNU, AIR Imphal BB Sharma where Irengbam Arun presented a paper on “RTI as a tool for obtaining information by journalists”.

Human Rights Law Network executive director Rakesh Meihoubam spoke on the topic “RTI: The Law”.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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