The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Outreach Unit, officially launched the RTI Publication, “The Right to Information and Media Practice” and the Research report on the ‘Responsiveness of Public Authorities to Right to Information Applications submitted via Email’ on the 21st of January, 2021 at the Renuka City Hotel, Colombo. The initiative was conducted in partnership with the Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF).
The Publication is a collection of news articles and success stories derived through RTI elicited information by prolific journalists and RTI users who have worked closely with CPA. While investigative journalism is one of the key contributions that strengthen democracy and accountability, the publication includes a series of wide-ranging stories proving that RTI is a potent weapon of investigative journalism. The publication aims to empower journalists and the public to utilize RTI legislation to secure documentary proof they need to add credibility to their stories and report in a more balanced and responsible manner. Hence, the launch of this publication will benefit in the long-term towards bolstering investigative journalism while strengthening democracy, fair governance, and accountability and popularize the use of RTI amongst the Sri Lankan media and the civil society.
The research study aims at assessing the responsiveness of public authorities to requests for information made via emails. Emphasizing the importance of the use of electronic media in requesting information in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, a total of 695 requests for information were sent by email in Sinhala and Tamil, to the official email addresses of 695 public authorities. The research recommends the need to replace functioning email addresses of all public authorities in relevant websites, to widen public awareness about the implementation of the right to information using electronic means and for authorities to support and respond to information requests through electronic means as the best alternative to the direct exercise of the right to information amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation.