• Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

RTI Law: Fees charged applicants to access information unreasonable – Appeals Court Judge

ByEditor

May 7, 2022 ,

Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei of the Appeals Court has questioned the logic behind cash demands imposed on applications for information from governmental offices.

The financial obligations linked to the Right To Information (RTI) Law, he claims, make a mockery of the laws in place to protect fundamental human rights and should be repealed.

He was giving the annual Lecture in Humanities at the Ghana National Academy of Arts and Sciences this year.

“A person who genuinely seeks information but cannot pay the authorized cost will have his fundamental right to knowledge denied,” he told the audience.

In 2019, the RTI Act was passed to put Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution into practice, which states that “all persons should have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and restrictions as are required for a democratic society.”

Except for exempt material, the law grants citizens access to all types of information.

However, one point of dispute has become the requirement that the application pay a charge in exchange for the information.

Many analysts believe the move will be detrimental to the recently passed law’s implementation.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) took the NCA to court last year after it demanded a GHC 2,000 charge before it would release information on the radio stations it had shut down.

However, the High Court, presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, decided that the NCA had the authority to levy fees for its services, resulting in an order for MFWA to pay GHC 1,500, which is GHC 500 less than the original demand.

Justice Dominic Adjei, speaking at the ceremony on May 5, described such situations as irrational and difficult, especially when the goal was instructive.

“The fees to be paid by an applicant who wants to access material for public consumption is unjustified,” he said, adding that the fee payment provision should be removed.

He feels that monetizing such a service is not reflective of a democratic regime like Ghana’s.

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