Media and Right To Information. Role and Significance . Objectives of this Module.
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Role and Significance
Good governance provides a platform that enables the Government to operate efficiently, effectively and transparently and to be accountable to the public.
Primary Principles of good governance include:
The media occupies a critical place in the governance process. A vital part is its role of a gatekeeper; disseminating critical messages to the public and highlighting issues/concerns/ initiatives.
It promotes Good Governance by facilitating people’s collective action for attaining sustainable socio-economic outcomes for the common good of the society.
Media promotes Good Governance through:
Principle 1 - Maximum proactive disclosure
Principle 2 - Obligation to publish
Principle 3 - Promotion of open government
Principle 4 - Limited scope of exemptions
Principle 5 - Processes to facilitate access
Principle 6 – Reasonable costs
Principle 7 - Disclosure takes precedence
a) Inform and educate the people about RTI
b) To generate debate
c) To disseminate a democratic culture of tolerance towards alternative points of view
The Drive Against Bribes campaign covered the period July 1-15. Nearly 1500 trained volunteers were available at centres in 48 cities around the country. Eight media partners and more than 700 civil society groups were a part of this initiative.
2) The Indian Express, a national newspaper, along with Parivartan, has been guiding people in exercising their right to information through a RTI forum. It has been doing this through a regular column – “Express Initiatives” - in which recent developments in this area are mentioned along with people’s experiences.
It has not only reported cases of success and failure in use of the Right to Information Act but also published sample ‘questions’ to assist citizens in framing ‘well drafted’ questions. In addition to this column, the Indian Express has organized awareness camps and training workshops in association with other institutions to guide people in accessing information. They also have an interactive website to address queries and to provide suggestions.
3) Doordarshan, the State owned broadcast network has launched a weekly half-hour programme on Right to Information. It aims to present best examples of how the common man has used the power of RTI
a) Doordarshan will be traveling the length and breadth of the country and present one success story each week from each state. The show is an audience- based one with Live discussions, phone-ins and studio discussion
b) The significance of Doordarshan taking this step is noteworthy. Doordarshan still has the highest penetration in the market and reaches rural India much more than other private channels. In fact most villages also have Doordarshan and this goes a long way in educating the masses
4) Another noteworthy publication that is useful for practitioners and policy makers is the Hoot. Run by some of the most eminent journalists in India, its provides critical insights on right to information and provides alternative approaches to ensuring effective implementation
5) The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a dedicated homepage covering issues relating to the Freedom of Information Law. It proactively discloses information about the BBC that are mandated under the UK law. It also provides information of developments in other parts of the world
The law in the UK is also relatively new and the BBC is also a government owned news agency. Thus, it is unique in that it also plays a role as a disseminator and also have to respond to requests for information