(Oct. 10, 2008) On September 20, 2008, the Council of Advisors to the current government of Bangladesh approved the Right to Information Ordinance 2008, to require government agencies and other covered organizations to provide Bangladeshi citizens with access to information upon request. The proposal was put forward by the Ministry of Information to increase transparency and accountability. The Ordinance will establish a three-member Information Commission headed by a Chief Information Commissioner. The Commission has been empowered to punish or fine officials who fail to comply with the Ordinance's requirements. In addition, the Ordinance requires the formation of a five-member scrutiny committee headed by a Chief Justice-nominated judge of the Appellate Division.
The new law requires people to pay an application fee when seeking information. A fee waiver, however, is available to the people living below the poverty line. (Right to Information Ordinance Okayed: 3-Member Information Commission to Be Set Up, THE NEW NATION, Sept. 21, 2008, available at http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/09/21/news0012.htm.)