After two decades of sporadic efforts, Sri Lanka’s Parliament unanimously passed the Right to Information Act in June 2016. LIRNEasia responded to a call for comments on the draft Bill and offered comments on various versions of the Bill through the media as the law was being shaped, many of which were accepted. Overall, it was a successful research-to-policy intervention. But in one area, we failed. That was in convincing the drafting committee to address costs of compliance to small organizations.
Last week I did a colloquium at LIRNEasia based on the second revision of the RTI Bill. Before I got around to doing a post, the third revision made its way out of the bowels of government. Significant improvements have been made, for which the Secretary of the Ministry of Media and Information should be congratulated. If only the rest of government followed his consultative approach, we’d be in much better shape with regard to the Constitutional and other reforms being rushed through by the interim government. The bill as its stands, including some comments and criticism, are analyzed here.