Freedom Forum, which has done a great deal whether that be in putting pressure for the adoption of RTI act or in promoting RTI culture or creating public awareness, is a pioneer organization in Right to Information (RTI) in Nepal.
Right to Information is the backbone of democracy. If people do not have right to know and are not empowered to question their government for accountability, democracy will not have real meaning in true sense. Good governance can not be ensured where people have no or limited access to information. Keeping in mind that strong law on RTI is required for the protection and guarantee of people’s right to know, Freedom Forum had put its strong effort to lobby for the RTI Act through different programs to ensure this right.
We can claim without hesitation that the RTI Act is the outcome of our continuous efforts through a campaign headed by the Forum. We have conducted five slots regional workshops and a national symposium on the presence of parliamentarians to raise strong voice for the enactment of RTI Act in Nepal.
We are continuously lobbying to enhance RTI culture in Nepal with different objective of execution of RTI Law. We are confident that RTI culture can only be promoted when there is responsible supply side of information i.e. institutions working on public interest and strong demand side i.e. people seeking information. We are supporting information seekers by providing them with legal and technical assistance and pressurizing the institutions working for public interest for so-motto disclosure of information in one hand and to provide information to the information seekers the information they demand.
The initiatives of Freedom Forum to strengthen RTI in Nepal dates back to its establishment in 2005. The Right to Information (RTI), despite being guaranteed since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution, was only given effect in July 2007 with the adoption of the RTI Act 2007 in Nepal. The Parliament of Nepal passed the Act in July 2007 to give effect to the people’s fundamental right to seek and receive information on any matters of public importance held by public agencies.
The major areas of work of the organization are lobby and advocacy for policy reform on RTI, public awareness, strengthening demand side, public pressure for the constitutional guarantee of progressive RTI laws, analysis of RTI laws, consolidating enforcement mechanism, drawing up Agenda for Change (AFC) to improve RTI in Nepal, publication RTI materials for promotion of RTI among others.
The resource pool on RTI included competent and well-known trainers and consultants of Nepal, who take up responsibility for training citizens and civil society representatives on RTI. The resource pool incorporates members from civil society organizations, legal practitioners, human rights defenders and so on. Freedom Forum brought together these experts for the RTI campaign and training since they had substantial knowledge and experience on RTI, good governance and transparency.
Major areas that we work under the theme Right to Information:
• Policy Reform of RTI as per international standards
• Monitoring (third party monitoring)
• Public Awareness Programs
Freedom Forum is going to organize a national convention on RTI in Nepal for the first time form 28-29 March 2011.