The amount of information published by government agencies of their own initiative under the Right to Information Act is extremely low, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICOM).

At a press conference on Sunday, ICOM said that in a study conducted in collaboration with Transparency International between November and December last year, it was established that only seven of the 935 government agencies published all the materials required by law.

These include two city councils, four independent institutions, and the Drug Court, ICOM found.

Speaking at the press conference, Information Commissioner Ahmed Ahid Rasheed highlighted that, according to one of the main findings from the study, although the law requires disclosure of information, agencies have largely failed to put the requirement into practice.

“We have to move from a culture of secrecy to a culture of disclosure. Therefore, it is not possible to say whether information is not disclosed because the authorities have ordered it or because it is not given priority in the civil service,” Rasheed said.

The ICOM-Transparency study found that all government ministries have websites, but only 40 out of 53 agencies under the ministries have websites.

Furthermore, all judicial agencies have websites, but only the Drug Court has disclosed information to the extent required by law.

“In addition, the most important tool used in publishing information, the website, was present in 494 agencies, so 47 percent of the agencies monitored did not have a website,” according to ICOM.

Noting that the websites of independent institutions are better off when compared to all other sectors, ICOM said in a statement that four out of all independent institutions have disclosed all the information required by law.

ICOM monitored 31 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and found they disclosed, on average, 21 percent of what was required by law.

There are 22 hospitals in the country, but only nine of them have websites, according to ICOM. These establishments have released 11 percent of the information they are legally required to disclose. There are 164 health centres in the country; none of which has a website.

Educational service providers also disclosed less information, according to ICOM. Nine of the 25 required voluntary disclosures are not made by any educational service provider, the office found.