Kathmandu, Jan 29: Freedom Forum, a pioneer NGO advocating for right to information, is alarmed over the decision of the a Committee for classifiation of information under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary of the Government of Nepal.
The Government Committee has classified information about 87 different policy areas into five categories namely- National sovereignty and national security, social harmony, trade secret and property rights, individual privacy and crime investigation. These information have been classified as ‘confidential’ and should be kept secret thus, refuting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizen, and the rights provided by the Right to Information Act, 2064.
The Committee’s classification is against the verdicts of supreme court, Nepal’s constitution and RTI Act. Information of public importance has also been classified as confidential which clearly indicates the government’s intention to dent the RTI Act and impact adversely on transparency in public agencies, Freedom Forum said.
According to the Committee’s decision, information about tax evasion, public procurement, meetings of dignitaries, any information submitted to the Nepal Government for decision, including other, should be kept secret for the mentioned years.
The decision was sent to the National Information Commission on January 13, 2023, as per the media reports.
To this, FF’s Executive Chief Taranath Dahal observes, “The classification of policy level information is unconstitutional and undemocratic effort the government made. It is serious blow to the RTI movement and trasnpareny campaigns in the country. The decision must be reviewed immediately and canceled by the NIC to exert pressure over the government to withdraw such undemocratic initiative.”