Transparency

The meet the press on Friday has been one of the most honest and frank to date where the Prime Minister shared even confidential details and he called on agencies to talk to the media.

The PMO and the Cabinet overall has been the most transparent among all government agencies in sharing information and giving time to the press.

Some cynical ones may say the PM is opening up before elections, but the PM has always been accessible.

The PM and Cabinet are doing so not to oblige the media, but as the PM himself said, it is his duty to do so and he is doing it so that public information can reach every household in the country.

On that score the PM and the Cabinet will get high marks for their handling of the media and information flow.

However, transparency cannot be restricted only to the media, as there are also other important areas of governance where it must be applied.

One key area is the ongoing exercise to make changes in 46 Acts. The changes are fine as long as it is to fall in line with the Civil Service Reform Act, but there are additional and new changes being proposed.

The Cabinet looking at the bills wholesale cannot be considered as stakeholder consultation, but instead if major new changes are being made in the Bills then actual stakeholders must be consulted.

It is both frightening and undemocratic to see a single OAG making all the changes without any transparency at the behest of agencies and individuals, who will all want to accumulate more power.

It can also lead to mistakes like hastily drafted bills in the past.

If the government wants to make major new changes to many laws, then it must consult the public and the stakeholders.

If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.
Louis D. Brandeis

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