Informed Public

Aug 25, 2008 (LBO) – A top Sri Lankan judge has called for laws such as a freedom of information act to enable people greater access to information to create an ‘informed public’ that is essential for a democratic society.

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Justice Saleem Marsoof, President’s Counsel and Judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka said most democracies now have legislation providing a mechanism through which the public can have access to information.

These include the Freedom of Information Acts of the United States and the United Kingdom and the Right to Information Act of India.

“The proper implementation of such legislation has in turn resulted in greater transparency and accountability while reducing the level of corruption in these countries,” Marsoof said in the inaugural K C Kamalasabayson, P.C Memorial Oration.

Kamalasabayson was a former Attorney-General, the top state legal officer.

“However, the people can exercise their sovereignty effectively only if they are well informed,” Marsoof said.

“My experience is that in most democracies misinformation and disinformation has become