Election in Sri Lanka Boosts Prospects for RTI Legislation

15 January 2015

Prospects for passage of a right to information law in Sri Lanka have improved dramatically with the election of Maithripala Sirisena.

Sirisena has pledged that an RTI law would be among the measures passed within his first 100 days in office.

Sirisena’s top aide Rajitha Senaratne said that Sirisena has ordered the immediate lifting of censorship on dissident websites, an end to phone tapping, surveillance of journalists and politicians, and the establishment of a right to information law, according to a report by Agence France Presse. The new president also has invited exiled journalists and dissidents to return.

“From now on, you have the freedom to criticise us. We will take strong action against anyone who tries to undermine media freedom,” Senaratne told reporters.

Sirisena was sworn in Jan. 10.

Passage of an RTI law was thwarted repeatedly by the previous government of Mahinda Rajapakse. Last May, advocates began a petition drive for a bill. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

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