The Coalition on the Right to Information, Ghana (RTI Coalition) has expressed their disappointment with the compliance of some public institutions with the RTI Act.

According to them, “While some public institutions are denying access, citing excuses such as the non-existence of basic structures to aid release of information; many other public institutions are completely ignoring requests made to them for information including some very basic public information.”

They say this stance taken by these public institutions defeats the purpose for which the RTI Act was created.

Their statement follows a demand by the National Communication Authority (NCA) to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) to pay a fee of GH¢ 2,000 to access some public information.

Per provisions of the RTI Act, the information requested by MFWA should have been readily available without the need for a request.

The RTI Coalition has described the fee as “outrageous” and “unreasonable” and an infringement on the right to access information.

The Coalition believes that “exercising a fundamental human right such as the Right to Information should not be costly; otherwise it is no more a right”.

They added that “public information is already paid for by taxpayers and therefore charging requesters to search for public information is tantamount to double charging”.

Of concern to the Coalition is the “wrong signal” this sends to the public, as it “suggests that the RTI Act is rather making it more difficult to obtain information instead of facilitating easy access to information, hence discouraging its use”.

They therefore called on government to “take immediate practical steps to prevent such acts from happening again.”

It also noted a contradiction between the response received by MFWA from the NCA and the Ministry of Information’s assertion of having “equipped public institutions with training on the importance and application of the RTI Act”.

In conclusion, they called for government “to work with stakeholders including the Coalition to implement the revised RTI implementation roadmap to facilitate the effective implementation of the RTI Act which is being touted by Government as a major tool to curb corruption and promote good governance in Ghana’s burgeoning democracy”.