Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) conducted an online panel discussion titled ‘A Law that Worked for Citizens: Five Years of Right to Information in Sri Lanka’ on 26 September 2022 in commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).
The discussion was joined by an eminent group of panelists led by the RTI Commission of Sri Lanka Commissioner Ms. Kishali Pinto Jayawardena, Julius & Creasy Senior Counsel Ms. Prashanthi Mahindaratne, and Technology, Media and Communications Law Legal Consultant/ Research Fellow Ms. Ashwini Natesan, while the panel was moderated by Attorney-at-Law and former Sri Lanka Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Mr. Javid Yusuf.
Ms. Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena while sharing her thoughts during the discussion on ‘Successes and Challenges in Sri Lanka’s RTI Journey, commented that the citizens of Sri Lanka have done quite a lot in the past five years using the RTI Act to improve their community. Adding further to the conversation, Ms. Prashanthi Mahindaratne highlighted that the RTI law is a bridge that would enable the Government as well as the citizens to traverse towards the achievement of SDGs and noted that if the public authorities or the citizens fail to take follow up action utilizing the disclosed information, it may remain a bridge uncrossed. During the discourse on ‘Making the link between the use of RTI and Reducing Corruption/Increasing Transparency, Ms. Ashwini Natesan emphasized the progress made via RTI, stating that during a relatively short span the RTI in Sri Lanka has shown promise of transparency, accountability and better governance.
This online event also marked the release of three books published by the Media Reform Lanka Initiative titled: “A Practitioner’s Guide to Orders of the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka (2017-2021)”; “Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Regime and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:Thoughts For Reflection”; and “Legal Commentaries to Selected Orders of the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka; 2019 – 2021”, edited by Ms. Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, Ms. Nivedha Jeyaseelan, and Ms. Inshira Faliq.
Link to the full video: