The Right to Information Commission says the emergence of the online space has revolutionised the way information flows.
It said the online space was particularly relevant in a digital age where the Internet had become a crucial platform for empowering citizens’ access to information and promoting transparency.
The commission said this in a statement ahead of yesterday’s commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
The Right to Information Commission joined the global community to commemorate the day, which serves as a reminder of the fundamental human right to information, and also provides an opportunity to shed light on this year's theme: "The importance of the online space for access to information”.
“With the increasing penetration of internet connectivity and the proliferation of digital devices, more people have access to information at the click of a button than before.
“The online space is an important platform for the exercise of the right to information.
The online space offers various benefits for both information seekers and holders.
For information seekers, the online space provides convenience, speed, affordability and diversity of sources,” the statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, said.
It said for information holders, the online space enabled “proactive disclosure, efficient management, cost reduction and feedback mechanisms”.
“The online space transcends geographical boundaries, societal barriers, and time constraints, enabling individuals to search for and retrieve information swiftly and conveniently.
It has become an invaluable tool for democratic participation, enabling citizens to engage with public institutions, hold governments accountable and participate in decision-making processes.
“The online space plays a pivotal role in promoting transparency and accountability in public administration.
Governments, public bodies and private institutions can utilise websites, online portals and social media platforms to publish and disseminate information regarding their policies, programmes and activities.
“This facilitates greater access to government-held information, enabling citizens to make informed decisions, monitor public spending and scrutinise the actions of public officials.
By forging a government-citizen dialogue, the online space contributes to a more transparent and accountable governance,” the statement said.
It said while that platform provided a gateway for marginalised groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities to access information that was previously inaccessible to them, it also promoted inclusivity and bridged the digital divide, allowing citizens to engage in public discourse, voice their concerns and demand their rights.
“Online platforms also facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practices, fostering innovation and development,” it added.
The statement said despite the positives of the online space, challenges persisted, including issues of digital literacy, inadequate infrastructure, censorship and the risk of misinformation and disinformation.
“Together, we can collaborate to address these challenges by investing in digital skills training, expanding internet connectivity and promoting media literacy,” It added.
The International Day for Universal Access to Information serves as a reminder of the vital role played by the online space in ensuring broad and equitable access to information.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in a separate statement, said Ghana's journey to establish the Right to Information (RTI) Law concluded in January 2020 after two decades of effort.
“Passed on March 26, 2019, this law fosters transparency and helps in the fight against corruption across all public institutions,” he said.
He said the theme for the commemoration “highlights the Internet's pivotal role in information access”.
“In line with this, Ghana introduces the Online Records Management System (ORMS) for streamlined online RTI requests.
ORMS, set for deployment by 2024 provides enhanced transparency, empowering citizens in their right to access information.
“This marks Ghana’s commitment to a more transparent and accountable society,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah added.