UNESCO and Pakistan’s Information Commission launch Online Appeal Management System during Access To Information Day
The new Online Appeal Management information system (AMIS) of Pakistan’s Information Commission, along with a new website, was launched on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on September 28, 2020.
The launch event was organized in collaboration with the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC), the EU Delegation in Pakistan, the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of The Netherlands, and the Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO).
The initiative aims to support citizens’ fundamental right of access to information through robust e-governance systems, which directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. UNESCO is the custodian agency for the SDG Indicator 16.10.2 that measures global progress on Public Access to Information.
The AMIS was developed as part of the institutional capacity building provided to Pakistan’s Information Commission, thanks to the support of UNESCO’s Multi-donor Program on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists. The AMIS will now enable citizens to file information requests with PIC online, accessible via www.rti.gov.pk. The newly developed portal has been integrated with a system that allows the Commission to process multiple information requests digitally. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to strengthen digital systems has grown rapidly, especially in terms of accessing and sharing public information. The website also provides features that allow easy access for citizens through various audiovisual support options.
Ms. Patricia McPhillips, Country Representative and Director of UNESCO, welcomed the participants and stressed that access to information is an integral part of strengthening democracies as it instils transparency and accountability. H.E. Mr. Wouter Plomp, The Netherlands’ Ambassador to Pakistan, emphasized the need to enforce the Right to Information (RTI) laws in order to facilitate citizens’ access to information, and to remain open to gradually improve Pakistan’s RTI laws.
A panel discussion on “Access to Information and local solutions” was also held during the event. The panelists, including academia and journalists, shared their experience of using RTI law and the role of a proactive independent commission in facilitating its implementation.