Javed Jabbar stresses Exclusive Parliamentary Channel
KARACHI: Former Information Minister Javed Jabbar has recommended for establishing an "Exclusive Parliamentary Channel," in the country.
"This will enhance public access to information generated through questions posed by parliamentarians during parliament proceeding that otherwise are not necessarily available," said one of the pioneers of Freedom of Information (FOI) law.
Speaking at a seminar "Access to Information," jointly organised by ShehriCitizens for a better environment and the helpline trust, he also called for necessary reforms in the institutions.
Javed Jabbar regretted that despite phenomenal growth of information sources freedom of access to information that may bring about meaningful changes in the society remains a far cry.
A concerned citizen and activist working for the cause of public safety Naim Sadiq said every relevant information about each of the government department must be readily available on their respective web-sites.
"This web-site information must necessarily include details of resources as well as funds available with the department, expenses, pur- chases it made and contracts it entered into during the fiscal year," he said.
He had a strong reservation about the supplements issued by these departments periodically against a hefty cost that too at public expense in current phase of financial crunch.
"Departments must give information voluntarily," he said. As for implementation of the Freedom of Information legislation, in its truest sense, Naim Sadiq said demand must come from grass root level.
"Most importantly officials unable to provide needed information must be fined coupled with negative remark on their personal files," he suggested.
The activist also called for organising seminar on the issue at community level and ensuring the needed reforms to make it public friendly and not as a tool to intimidate the complainants.
Hamid Maker of The Help Line Trust (THT) held indifference among the masses as the major hindrance in implementation of the law.
Shehri's Representative, offered NGO's services to guide citizens having complaints against departments that may be denying citizens' basic rights. We can also review the complaints and assist the complainants, he said urging that networking can help in improving the situation. -App