Defend the right to know

VANUATU has once-again showed the region and the world how progressive it is in encouraging human rights which are integral in the maintenance of democratic institutions. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai has taken a bold step towards creating a democratic island state with the introduction of a Right To Information Bill.

This proposed legislation addresses a number of key aspects which are essential in any democracy: The public’s right to know, transparent and responsible governance and an informed society. Much of the corruption which exists in the Pacific today is due in some way to the restricted flow of information from those in authority to the people whom they purport to serve.

In Fiji there has been little or no information on how the millions of dollars of international assistance after Tropical Cyclone Winston has been distributed. Nor has information been forthcoming on ministerial salaries paid during the term of the interim government. These are the most simple of matters which every citizen deserves to know about. An open and transparent system of governance will ensure that citizens not only have the right to but are actually provided with details of state activities, expenditure and proposed legislation.

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