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Still no right to information act in Sri Lanka

(CPJ/IFEX) - 7 August 2012 - The following is a CPJ Blog post:

By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator

You would think that with fighting between government forces and secessionist Tamils finished in May 2009, the Sri Lankan government might ease its grip on public information - information which is really the property of the country's citizens, not whichever administration happens to be holding political power. In 2004, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike's cabinet did approve a Freedom of Information Bill, but parliament was dissolved and the bill never went further.

The issue has been coming and going over the years. The last attempt at legislative change came in 2011, when it was defeated by the government in parliament. One Sri Lankan editor recalls President Mahinda Rajapaksa as telling a group of editors around that time that the country doesn't need what has been relabelled as a Right to Information Act because he would answer whatever questions they might have.

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