Media Foundation360 organised a forum on ‘Sindh Right to Information law and better media-government relationship’ in Larkana on October 28.
The chief objectives of the forum were to develop better liaison between journalists and government functionaries to facilitate smooth flow of information from both sides especially vis-à-vis the Right to Information (RTI) Laws. Deputy Commissioner Larkana Kashif Ali Tipu and Assistant Commissioner Masood Bhutto were invited as the special guests to the forum.
It interaction also aimed at informally briefing the government official, in this case the District Commissioner Larkana, regarding what is expected from them in light of the RTI Law of Sindh.
The forum started with the trainers Sherz Hasnaat and Moayyed Jafri giving a summary of the Sindh RTI Law and sharing with the DC what had been achieved during the three-day workshop. President Media Foundation 360 and Executive Editor Truth Tracker Mubasher Bukhari talked about the challenges faced by journalist due to the ever-evolving media landscape and how lack of resources limits the abilities of journalists. He explained that the vision behind the training is to equip the journalists with investigative techniques that would help them raise the standard of journalism to international levels.
The participants of the workshop had been divided into four groups to list suggestions that could improve the RTI Law and make it more efficient. Sharing their proposals, the work-groups said that the wait time for the information requested through an RTIO request is too much and makes the information virtually redundant in some cases. They also pointed out that the Public Information Officers (PIOs) have not been appointed as per the law.
The Deputy Commissioner thanked ‘Media Foundation 360’ and appreciated the body’s efforts in working to uplift the standard of journalism in the country. Responding to the suggestions and questions of the participants, he said that the PIOs will be appointed as soon as the RTI Commission is appointed.
The DC assured the journalists of Larkana that he will communicate their concern regarding the Time Limit for provision of information under RTI Law to the concerned policy quarters and will also advocate their case with them. He however went a step further, extending his cooperation to all journalists for the provision of any information helpful for reporting the truth sans that which does not fall under ‘Public Information’. He pledged that he has nothing to hide and RTI or no RTI there will be no hesitation by his administration vis-à-vis any data from any tier of the district government.
In his concluding remarks, he stressed the need for more of such trainings which promote professional journalistic practices and aim at skill-building of journalist for credible reporting. The DC thanked Mubasher Bukhari and Media 360 for providing him the opportunity for the constructive informal interaction with the journalists and said that he would be happy to contribute in any such initiative in the future as well.