IIJNM organises RTI workshop

‘State of RTI’ discussion at Alliance Francaise de Bangalore saw panelists encouraging participants to make use of RTI.

The Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) organised a Right To Information (RTI) workshop, ‘State of the RTI’,  on 14th August, at Alliance Francaise de Bangalore.

Guest speaker, Dr Shekhar Singh of the National Coalition for People’s Right to Information talked about safeguarding RTI and described how the law was drafted to catch corrupt officials in government departments. He presented the findings of a recent, nationwide survey conducted by his group. The survey tested the knowledge and use of the RTI by more than 35,000 citizens across 10 states. The survey found out that more than 800 RTI requests were filed to determine government responsiveness. Singh also added that students should make use of the RTI.

Several panelists discussed the state of the RTI. Virupakshaiah, Commissioner, Karnataka Information Commission, whose responsibility is to handle citizen’s RTI appeals and complaints, pointed out that the state has only three Information Commissioners.

“With the number of cases pending in the files, we need more infrastructure and more people to handle it,” he added. He said that almost 6000 cases were still pending. The BBMP and the BDA had the maximum cases filed against them.

Parvathi Menon, Bureau chief of The Hindu, Bangalore, talked about the role of media in the context of spreading RTI awareness.

"The media today needs to change its mindset,” she said, adding that daily deadline pressures left little space for long-format investigative stories.

Y G Murlidharan, Consumer Advocate, Director, Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT) shed some light on the efforts of bringing about some transparency at the village-level by two model villages.

Pointing out to the statistics that showed how the english language media was more active in propagating RTI then the vernacular media, another panelist, historian Theodore Bhaskaran, mentioned it took two years to get the Tamil version of the RTI act.

"One has to fight for their right to get information at every step, you just can’t give up at any point", asserted Jayashree JN, Founder of "Fight Corruption Now", who made use of RTI to root out corrupt officials in the administrative offices.

Students from various colleges in the city also attended the seminar.

IIJNM alumni who had produced investigative stories using the RTI talked about their experiences of using the Act. The seminar was moderated by IIJNM Visiting Professor and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Ralph Frammolino.
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

City Buzz: Mumbai billboard collapse | L&T to exit Hyderabad Metro… and more

In other news this week: Trends in senior living market in cities; vision problems predicted for urban kids and the rise of dengue in Bengaluru.

Mumbai billboard collapse throws light on sorry state of civic safety At least 16 died and 74 were injured when a 100-foot-tall illegal billboard collapsed in the eastern suburb of Ghatkopar in Mumbai, during a thunderstorm on May 14th. It fell on some houses and a petrol station, disrupting life in the region. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allows a maximum hoarding size of 40×40 feet, but this billboard was 120×120 feet. Last week itself, BMC had recommended action against Bhavesh Prabhudas Bhinde, 51, director of Ego Media Pvt Ltd, which owned the contract for the hoarding on a 10-year lease.…

Similar Story

Chennai Councillor Talk: Infrastructure and health are my focus, says Kayalvizhi, Ward 179

Ensuring access to good roads, education and fighting pollution are major focus areas of Chennai's Ward 179 Councillor Kayalvizhi

A nurse-turned-politician, J Kayalvizhi, Councillor of Ward 179 in Chennai, studied nursing at Christian Medical College in Vellore. Until 2006, she worked with an MNC in Saudi Arabia. Since her return in 2006, she decided to take up social service to help people in need, especially in the field of education and health. Her husband, Jayakumar, has been in politics for many years now and holds the position of divisional secretary of Ward 179 in DMK. When Ward 179 in Chennai was reserved for women, Kayalvizhi's husband encouraged her to contest in the polls to channel her interest in social…