HARIPUR: Good governance, transparency and pro-public administration in the government departments can be achieved only through the proactive role of media and civil society, who should use and disseminate the law of the right to information for the people’s benefit.

This was the gist of the speeches made during a seminar held to create public awareness of the Right to Information Act, 2013, here on Wednesday.

The event was jointly organised by the Right to Information Commission, KP, and Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives for journalists, lawyers, civil society activists, public information officers, and officials of different departments.

RTI commissioner Maha Talat said the KP RTI Act, 2013, was one of the few important legislations meant to ensure transparency and pro-people and corruption-free public dealing in the government departments.

She said the merits of the law should to be realised by the media, civil society and people.

“These objectives can only be achieved once the people are educated about the benefits and applicability of the RTI law,” she said.

Ms Talat urged journalists especially those working in the peripheries to use the law for issue-oriented and investigative news items to ensure improved governance, transparency and accountability in the public sector departments.

Amir Ahmad of the CPDI highlighted the history of access to information laws, comparison between the access to information law of 2002 and KP Right to Information Act, 2013, its background and how an information seeker could file application and get the required information from a government department.

Meanwhile, the District Public Safety Commission on Wednesday promised to address the people’s grievances against the police.

The commission held its first meeting here.

DPSC chairman Masoodur Rehman presided over the meeting, where additional superintendent of police Haripur Zulfiqar Khan Jadoon and additional assistant commissioner Adnan Jamil were also in attendance.

The chairman said the objective of the DPSC was keep an eye on the functioning of the police department and making it serve the people.

He said the DPSC would ensure that the rights of citizens enshrined in the Police Act 2017 are protected and the people with complaints against any officer or official get due relief under the law.

The meeting discussed four complaints against local policemen and relocation of the DPSC office to the District Secretariat.

Additional superintendent of police Zulfiqar Khan Jadoon said the police would fully support the DPSC members during visit to police stations and holding of inquiries against the policemen.

He made some suggestions for the better functioning of the commission.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018

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