Proposals put forward to transform decades-old National Archives Law with LIRNEasia’s expertise

Posted on February 14, 2024  /  0 Comments

In a significant move towards modernising archival governance and promoting data accessibility, a committee appointed by the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs, has been working on revising the National Archives Law No. 48 of 1973. Chaired by Nigel Nugawela, Archivist, the committee includes experts such as LIRNEasia Chair Prof. Rohan Samarajiva — who is also a former Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA). The draft text, which will act as the basis for a National Archives and Records Management Bill, was presented to the subject Minister Vidura Wickremanayake last week.

Operating under the provisions of the decades-old National Archives Law, the Department of National Archives has long been in need of modernisation to adapt to the digital age. The framework legislation put forward proposals, amendments and additions to the legislation including addressing this pressing need for incorporating digitalisation. The definition of a “record,” for example has been expanded to include digital materials. These foundational changes set the stage for a comprehensive overhaul of archival governance, aiming to enhance accessibility, improve records management, address confidentiality concerns, and establish robust institutional frameworks.

The draft Framework for National Archives and Records Management Legislation introduces several key provisions to address the challenges and opportunities presented by digital records. Notably, it empowers the National Archives to issue guidelines and enforce regulations on managing digital records within public authorities. Moreover, the Framework outlines measures for the preservation of digital records, including provisions for their storage at the National Archives and temporary data centres.

The full text of the framework can be accessed through the website of the National Archives Department. As the draft legislation enters the public consultation phase from February 14 to February 29, the National Archives Department has invited the public to provide their views and suggestions.

Comments are closed.