Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid has said that Maldivians are foreign to the right to acquire and impart information.
While speaking during the conclusion of the symposium on promoting right to information organized by Transparency Maldives at Kurumba Maldives Resort yesterday Shahid said though the last Parliament had rejected the right to information Act, the present Parliament is reviewing the draft again. He further expressed confidence that the Parliament’s Social Committee has given assurances that the Act would be forwarded to the Parliament floor by the end of this year.
During the one day symposium participated by foreign and local societies working for human rights, UN institute and Maldivian authorities, Shahid said the use of right to acquire and impart information was enhanced after the new constitution came into effect. He noted that before the new constitution the right to information was really constricted and there was a culture in Maldives where institutions answerable to the people withheld public information.
Shahid highlighted the importance of the right to acquire and impart information in a democracy and stressed that the right must be protected. He added that the right should not interfere or contradict individual rights.
The Speaker noted that the Maldives was experiencing major changes at a rapid pace which has seen the creation of independent institutions and has freedom of expression similar to that of most developed nations. He said in such an era the people should be informed of policies which would facilitate the path to progress.
Shahid also hailed the efforts of Transparency Maldives in assisting the Parliament, raising public awareness on human rights and right to acquire and impart information.
Transparency Maldives revealed that the two year project on right to acquire and impart information is conducted jointly with UNDP and UN Democracy fund.