Watchfulness of aware citizens strengthens democracy: Minister Sharma



Kathmandu, Sept 28: Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma has said democracy would become stronger only with the active and aware citizens playing the watchdog role.     

Addressing a seminar organized by the National Information Commission (NIC) here today marking the International Day for Universal Access to Information here today, she said people would be active and aware the more information they get on matters of public concern.     

"Democracy is consolidated only through the active and aware citizens' watch. This helps in enhancing access of people on all topics of public concern," the Communications and Information Technology Minister reiterated.     

She stressed the need to promote the usage of the Right to Information (RTI) to the people's level as it is a means by which people are made aware and democracy is strengthened.     

Stating that RTI has been enshrined in the constitution as a fundamental right and there is also an Act related to it for its implementation, Minister Sharma said the main objective of the Act is making the people's power stronger.     

"On the one hand collection, storing and dissemination of information has become easier with growing online space while challenges in information and data security have increased due to the misuse of unauthorized access to the information technology system on the other," she said, adding that the government has issued the National Cyber Security Policy, 2080BS to address this problem.     

Chief Information Commissioner Mahendra Man Gurung said the NIC is effortful towards making RTI implementation fully online. He mentioned that the Commission has prepared a handbook for the support of information seekers and public entities. Gurung added that NIC has planned to publish the booklet in various local languages as well in the coming days.     

Pointing out that the RTI is to be made fully inclusive, the NIC Chief Commissioner expressed the confidence that doing so would make its implementation more effective.     

Digital Rights Nepal's executive director Santosh Sigdel presented a paper entitled 'Online Space and RTI: Opportunities and Challenges.'     

Joint Secretary at the Ministry, Anil Kumar Dutta, chairperson of Sancharika Samuha Bimala Tumkhewa and NIC commissioner Ratna Prasad Mainali commented on the paper.     

On the occasion, Minister Sharma released the Handbook for Assisting Information Seekers and Public Entities. (RSS)

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