What's New

  • 17 May 2017

    Bangladesh: A new breed of truth seekers

    By Shansui Bari and Ruhi Naz The writers are Chairman, and Programme Coordinator (RTI), respectively, of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh. This article first appeared in The Daily Star. There is a new breed of fans in South Asia: fans of the Right to Information (RTI) laws in our region. These are passionate, almost fanatical, RTI activists. They […]

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  • 3 November 2016

    Bangladesh RTI is a Paper Law

    By M. S. Siddiqui The following article appeared Oct. 31 in Asian Age. The author is an author and former business executive. Efforts to ensure citizens access to public information can be traced back to 1766, with the Swedish parliament enacting the first legislation seeking freedom of information. However, recognition of the right to information as […]

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News Archive

  • 13 July 2016

    Study Says Bangladeshi Women Inhibited From Accessing Information

    Women in Bangladesh do not seek government information as often as men, according to community leaders and experts interviewed for a study conducted by Manusher Jonno Foundation and the Carter Center’s Global Access to Information Program. The report, “Women and the Right of Access to Information in Bangladesh,” is based primarily on interviews 128 community […]

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  • 16 June 2016

    Bangladesh RTI Act: A powerful tool against poverty

    By Shamsul Bari and Ruhi Naz The writers are Chairman, Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and Project Coordinator (RTI section) of RIB respectively. Their email is: This article first appeared in The Daily Star on June 15and is reprinted with permission, Rezia Khatun, a 36-year-old woman, became destitute after her husband suddenly died. With three […]

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  • 18 May 2016

    Bangladesh: A Good Law Gone to Waste?

    By Dr. Shamsui Bari The writer is Chairman of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB). This article, subtitled “Right to Information Act 2009: The role of media,” first appeared in The Daily Star. Media’s power to shape public opinion is succinctly captured in a story from Peru, dating back to the 1990s. Alberto Fujimori was the president of […]

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  • 30 March 2016

    Digital Bangladesh – Right to information and climate finance

    By Saleemul Huq The author is Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University, Bangladesh. This article originally appeared in Business on March 30. As Bangladesh and the world enters post-2015 era with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Sendai Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) – […]

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  • 10 March 2016

    Bangladesh Parliament Refuses to Disclose Attendance Records

    The Secretariat of the Bangladesh parliament has rejected requests for the attendance records of the deputies of parliament. According to Section 7 (q) of the Right to Information Act, providing “information that may be prejudicial to the special rights of the House of the Nation” is not mandatory, according to the Secretariat, as reported by […]

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  • 3 February 2016

    Right to Information – A catalyst for change in Bangladesh

    By Shamsul Bari and Ruhi Naz The authors are Chairman, Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and Project Coordinator (RTI section) of RIB respectively. This article originally appeared in The Daily Star. Talking to citizen’s groups in different parts of the country recently, two things came out clearly. One, there is a slow but steady increase in […]

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  • 22 October 2015

    Bangladesh Researchers Report Encouraging Findings

    “Significant progress is taking place and there is reason for optimism,” report Shamsul Bari and Ruhi Naz in an article in The Daily Star based on their examination of  decisions by the Information Commission over the past one year. “Of course, we were also disappointed by many shortfalls that prevail,” they added, but they highlighted “positive developments.” […]

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  • 11 February 2015

    Implementing RTI More Comprehensively

    By Muhammad Zamir The writer is a former Chief Information Commissioner and Ambassador. He is an analyst specializing in foreign affairs, right to information and good governance.?This commentary was published in the Financial Express. Enacted by the Government of Bangladesh in the first session of the 9th Parliament, the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2009 […]

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  • 22 January 2015

    NGO Recommends Reforming Bangladesh Exemptions

    A nongovernmental organization in Bangladesh has recommended reforming the exemption section in the 2009 Right to Information Act. The Management and Resource Development Initiative (MRDI) said section 7 of the RTI law should be changed to make it more favorable for the public. MRDI Executive Director Hasibur Rahman presented the recommendations to Chief Information Commissioner Mohammed […]

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  • 7 January 2015

    Using the RTI Law in Bangladesh

    A report by the Asia Foundation on right to know laws in three Southeast Asian countries. (See report.) The report includes an annex with case studies about the use of the laws. Reprinted below is the section on Bangladesh. Applying RTI in the Shrimp Sector Social Activities for the Environment (SAFE), a Bangladesh NGO, […]

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  • 12 November 2014

    Asia Foundation Report Finds Many Implementation Issues

    Awareness of right to know laws in three Southeast Asian countries is very low and public officials report many obstacles to implementing the RTI laws, according to a new report by the Asia Foundation. The study was done in partnership with civil society organizations in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, and with the foundation’s country office […]

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  • 22 September 2014

    Two New Commissioners Appointed in Bangladesh

    An academic and a retired public servant have been named as members of the Bangladesh Information Commission. Nepal Chandra Sarkar, who served as the first secretary to the Commission when it was formed in 2009, but was elsewhere in government recently was one appointee. The other is Khurshida Begum Syed, a professor of government and […]

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  • 21 August 2014

    Bangladesh Needs Transparency in Picking New Commissioners

    By Suchismita Goswami The author is Project Officer, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. This article appeared The Daily Star Aug. 21. Two out of three posts at the Bangladesh Information Commission are lying vacant for the past month. The government knew they were falling vacant when information commissioners Sadeka Halim and MA […]

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  • 16 June 2014

    Bangladesh Law Scored at Fifth Birthday Conference

    Passage of a right to information law five years ago hasn’t been followed by a culture change within government or among citizens. Assessments of the law came at a forum sponsored by the information commission and, described in a variety of news reports. “We are trapped in a culture of fear,” said Tahmina Rahman, […]

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  • 15 April 2014

    Study Finds Implementation of Bangladesh RTI Law Slow

    The implementation of Bangladesh’s 2009 right to information law is “still very slow,” according to a comprehensive “Country Diagnostic Analysis” that contains recommendations for improvement. The study, conducted by the Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI), examined many facets. The findings include: –      public awareness of the law (low) –      the role of the media […]

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  • 5 August 2013

    Bangladesh should further proactive disclosures

    By Suchismita Goswami The writer is Project Officer, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. This article was published July 29 in The Daily Star. Bangladesh enacted its Right to Information Act in 2009. However more than three years following its enactment, very little is known about what the law means and what it […]

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  • 20 July 2012

    Access Sought to World Bank Reports on Bangladesh

    Efforts are being made to obtain public access to two reports sent by the World Bank to the Bangladesh government about possible corruption surrounding a major bridge project. Release of the reports is at the discretion of the government, which so far as declined to disclose them. Another World Bank report on the same project, […]

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  • 14 May 2012

    Folk Songs Explain the RTI Law in Bangladesh

    Sung to the tunes of traditional folk songs, new lyrics are being used to explain the right to information law in Bangladesh. Days of secrecy are long gone, Public officials are now under obligation, To ensure people’s right to information, Says the law of the nation The  “Tathya Adhikarer Gaan” or “Songs on the Right […]

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  • 10 February 2012

    Bangladesh Court Upholds Penalty for Impeding Access

    The High Court of Bangladesh on Feb. 8 upheld an Information Commission fine for a  government official who refused to provide information under the 2009 Right to Information Act. The court rejecting a petition filed by a government official challenging the Commission’s decision to fine him Tk. 1,000 ($12). The ruling was hailed as the […]

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  • 14 November 2011

    Implementation of Bangladesh RTI Law Needs Improvement

    By Robaet Ferdous and Jagaran Chakma Ferdous is an Associate Professor, Dhaka University and Chakma is a Staff Reporter of The Independent where this article first appeared on Oct. 29, 2011. Reprinted with permission. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2009, was  adopted in the first session of the Ninth Parliament on March 29, 2009. […]

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  • 31 October 2011

    Designing Exemptions That Balance Both Effective and Accountable Governance

    By Muhammad Zamir Zami is Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commission, Bangladesh. He gave this talk Oct. 4 at the Ottawa, Canada, meeting of the International Conference of Information Commissioners. His original title is: “Limiting the limitations: Designing exemptions that balance both effective and accountable governance” I hope I am permitted to say that our meeting […]

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  • 27 September 2011

    FOI Notes: Bangladesh, WikiLeaks, Mobile Phones

    Bangladesh: A new publication documents 15 RTI related stories in Bangladesh – The Power of Using the Right to Information Act in Bangladesh: Experiences from the Ground (PDF 1376 KB). This publication documents the experiences of NGOs working in the field and how the RTI Act has had an impact on individuals. Also, see a […]

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  • 15 April 2011

    Bangladesh RTI ACT, 2009: Present Status and Scope

    By Sanjida Sobhan Coordinator, Manusher Jonno Foundation Perhaps the Right to Information Act, 2009 is one of the much talked about issues in Bangladesh after Nari o Sishu Nirjatan Domon Ain 2003 (songshodito) [Act for Suppression of Violence against Women and Children]. Demand for such Act came from every corner of the society like human […]

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  • 4 April 2011

    New Advisory Body Formed on South Asia RTI Issues

    A new 16-person body, the South Asia Advisers on the Right to Information, was formed during a two-day long convention in Kathmundu, Nepal, from March 27- 29. Made up of chief information officers, RTI activists and others, the group will discuss “transparency law, norms for information commissions, and capacity building among government officials, media and […]

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  • 18 February 2011

    Bangladesh Commission Holds First Hearings on Cases

    The Bangladesh Information Commission Feb. 15 held its first hearings on cases, one of many signs of activity under the 2009 law.  The Information Commission completed hearings on five cases under the chairmanship of Chief Information Commissioner Muhammed Zamir. Promotion efforts are under way.  In January, Grameenphone signed a memorandum of understanding with the Information […]

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  • 4 August 2010

    Bangladeshi Commissioner Supports Wider Coverage

    Bangladesh’s Chief Information Commissioner, Muhammad Zamir, has called for extending the 2009 Right to Know Act to cover all corporations. “Most of the corporate companies and giant financial institutions in the country remain out of the jurisdiction of the act. But people have the right to know about their activities and financial dealings. So the […]

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  • 2 December 2009

    World Bank Cautious on Media Development

    The goal of strengthening the media as one way to fight corruption was adopted by the World Bank in 2006, but the promise has gone virtually unfulfilled, according to research by

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  • 4 August 2006

    World Bank Continues Work on Anticorruption Strategy

    Liberally sprinkled with references to “transparency,” the latest internal World Bank draft anticorruption strategy appears to follow through on President Paul Wolfowitz’s pledge to increase investment in the areas of media and freedom of information. While lacking in operational details, the “revised draft” of July 20, 2006, obtained by, calls for a new stress […]

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  • 22 March 2006

    Freedom of Information Laws Added to the Development Agenda

    By Toby McIntosh Riding a wave of transparency, the idea of encouraging Freedom of Information (FOI) laws as part of the development agenda is gaining currency, but slowly. With research and case studies increasingly identifying transparency as a key tool in fighting corruption and facilitating development, more attention is being paid to the development of […]

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  • 30 September 2004

    Activists Criticize IFC Consultations; IFC Expands Consultations

    The International Finance Corporation has increased the number of consultations it will hold on proposed disclosure and safeguard policy revisions after the outreach process came under criticism by activists as inadequate and rushed. The changes were announced just before the IFC held its first consultation, in Buenos Aires Sept. 27, where attendance was about half […]

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  • 21 July 2004

    ADB Critics in India, Bangladesh Protest ADB Policies, Disclosure Proposal

    Critics of the Asian Development Bank’s Proposed Disclosure Policy staged a walk-out of the ADB’s consultation in Bangalore, India, July 16, and issued a sharply critical statement in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The walk-out in Bangalore by civil society representatives came after they made a statement criticizing the procedures of the consultations as not representative, poorly planned […]

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Right to Know Law (2009) (English)


Right to Information (Information Preservation and Management) Regulations (2010) (Bengali)



The Bangladesh Information Commission web site (Bengali and English versions)



Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication


Management Resources and Development Initiative


Right to Information Bangladesh (English) (Bengali)


Transparency International Bangladesh



Summary of Law by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative


World Bank Summary of Bangladesh FOI


Background paper prepared for 2010 conference sponsored by World Bank



Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.