In an effort to promote transparency and accountability, the Right to Information Officer for Oforikrom, Emmanuel Asare organised a comprehensive sensitisation exercise for officers of the Fire Service on the principles and application of the Right to Information Act at the Fire Station.
The informative sessions, conducted on September 13, and September 15 were to empower the officers with the knowledge and tools necessary to access government-held information as guaranteed by the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989).
Mr. Asare emphasised the significance of the RTI Act in promoting openness, ensuring government accountability, and empowering citizens to make informed decisions.
He highlighted the practical aspects of making information requests, the procedures involved, and the rights and responsibilities of public institutions in responding to such requests.
He further highlighted that it takes 14 days for one to receive a response when an application is made, however, in instances that the applicant needs the information urgently, applicants must indicate so and state the reason for the urgency.
Officers of the Oforikrom National Fire Service engaged actively in the session, posing questions and seeking clarifications on various aspects of the Act.
ADO I Griffin Okante Okantey, the Operations Officer, queried if an individual could access all information at a public institution.
Mr. Asare in response, stated that “inasmuch as everyone has the right to information, not all information can be granted access to, especially when the information is classified under the exempt information of the Right to Information Act.”
In response to SO II Joseph Mindah, the 21C Watch Leader, who queried if an applicant can access information of a court proceeding. Mr. Asare responded by quoting section 14(b) of the Act which states “Information is exempt from disclosure if its disclosure is expected to prejudice the fair trial of a person or the impartial adjudication of a case before a court or quasi-judicial body”.
The sensitization exercise received positive feedback from the officers, with many expressing their commitment to using the knowledge gained to improve their access to information relevant to their duties.
They acknowledged the role of the Right to Information Act in enhancing their effectiveness in emergency response and public safety.
Emmanuel Asare, the Right to Information Officer, encouraged the officers to embrace transparency and accountability as they carry out their essential duties.
He expressed his willingness to provide ongoing support and guidance to ensure that the Oforikrom National Fire Service maximises the benefits of the Right to Information Act.
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