Media & RTI
Information is vitally important for the effective functioning of a true democracy. People need to be kept informed about current affairs and contemporary issues –political, social and economic, especially if and when such issues have an impact, either direct or indirect, on their lives. In this scenario, Journalists play an important role in communicating the truth, unvarnished, to the public. Therefore, the responsibility of broadening awareness and understanding on the RTI among the public rests with journalists
Therefore, they should be able to have accurate and well documented information. The information sources should not be disclosed and journalists should be able to refer them at any time. Often termed the fourth State of a country, the Press has to make the government responsible by publishing information about matters of public interest even if such information reveals the negative side of the authority. Thus, investigative journalism is one of the key contributions that the press makes to democracy and to the citizens. When we take into consideration the fact that most people do not exercise their Right to information in a direct and personal way, the significance of investigative journalism becomes all the more important. By wide ranging stories it is proved that RTI is a potent weapon of investigative journalism. Therefore, RTI is of very importance for the journalists.
There are 3 primary benefits to journalists in pursuing RTI
Reliability and accuracy
A ‘good story’
Through RTI requests, reliable and official sources for news and information could be gained which could be used by journalists in strengthening the existing information with further facts, statistics and details. RTI legislation will therefore facilitate journalists to secure documentary proof they need to add credibility to their stories and report in a more balanced and responsible manner. Moreover, this will help break language barriers and also save the time of journalists, ensuring greater efficiency. Furthermore, this would help journalists to investigate stories of corruption and wastage of public funds in order to put a full stop to it. These trends will strengthen the media’s reputation as a credible democratic ‘watchdog’ that acts as a check on government.