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The below correction sent by the RTI Commission of Sri Lanka as a Right of Reply was carried in the Sunday Leader of 2nd July 2017.

The Sunday Leader
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Dear Editor,

RTI COMMISSION RESPONDS TO INCORRECT REFERENCE IN SUNDAY LEADER ARTICLE (Right of Reply)

I am instructed by the RTI Commission of Sri Lanka to respond to an article appearing in your newspaper of June 25th, 2017 titled 'Departments Under Law And Order Ministry Ignore Request Under RTI' by Ms. Nirmala Kannangara.

This article incorrectly states that the RTI Commission had not responded to Ms Kannangara's email query sent to the Commission on the same. Please note that in direct contradiction to this claim, I responded to the email sent by Ms Kannangara (dated 28th April 2017) on 25th May 2017 (see annexure below). Your journalist was informed that that an information officer had been appointed by the Department of Police and further apprised that the Commission has been intervening with the nodal agency, the Ministry of Mass Media to ensure compliance by Public Authorities with the RTI Act, No 12 of 2016.

Furthermore, Ms. Kannangara was informed that her email cannot be accepted as an 'appeal.' The Commission is bound by Rule 13 (2) of the RTI Rules (Fees and Appeal Procedure) ( Gazette No. 2004/66, 03.02.2017) issued in terms of Section 42 of the RTI which states that appeals to the Commission may be made only through the medium of registered post or in person. This requirement has been clearly stated by the Commission in its Public Statements and clarified on its website: www.rticommission.lk.

Ms Kannangara was asked to resubmit her appeal in accordance with the Rules on Appeals as provided for. She was also informed that, if she wishes, any further clarification could be sought from the Commission through email or by phone. It is therefore surprising that her article referred to above contains no mention of this fact.

The RTI Commission expects that as a responsible newspaper bound by the Code of Ethics issued by the Sri Lanka Press Institute, (of which the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka is a constituent member and a co-founder), your newspaper will carry this Right of Reply with the same prominence given to the earlier incorrect article. The Commission is therefore copying this letter to the SLPI, also for the reason that the SLPI is engaged in carrying out trainings for journalists on Sri Lanka's RTI Act.

I am instructed also to state that the Commission notes that it is encouraging to see that many Public Authorities are complying with the RTI Act. However please note that if any Public Authority is found culpable of wilfully disregarding the Act, the Commission will be acting directly in pursuance of its statutory powers and to the fullest extent of its authority,

Kind regards.
Mr A D E Bernard
Administrative Officer / Coordinating Secretary
Right to Information Commission

For and on behalf of the RTI Commission

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