"Provide Information Before Citizens Ask For It"- Justice N Santosh Hegde
BANGALORE, Karnataka , (SAR News) -- "The Right to Information Act is related to the Right to Speech. If you don't know what to speak, you can't speak. You need information. That's why, the RTI is related to the Right to Speech" Chief Guest, Justice N Santosh Hegde told participants at the 14th National Journalists Conference of the Indian Catholic Press Association in Bangalore, May 12th.
He was addressing participants on the theme 'Right to Information Act and Media Accountability'. "The RTI has brought tremendous change in bureaucracy. It has also made things easy for us (in the Lok ayukta). Certain information should be given without even being asked" he said. "Information about assets and liabilities, criminal and career records of public servants and politicians must be made public on a website".
The Media has a tremendous role in this regard. They should publish policies given by the government, which includes Gram Panchayat, Village Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat, so that the officials will be accountable to the locals. This will induce the citizens to ask money related questions. It will not only awaken the locals but also the officials. Media must play a positive role since it is a vehicle for bringing in good governance".
"File An Application, Demand An Answer"- RTI Activist Aruna Roy
BANGALORE, Karnataka (SAR News) -- "The RTI act has come into force through the determination and the struggle of people. Politics cannot exist with ethics and governance without ethics.I was troubled when I traveled all over India, everywhere there is corruption, and how do you fight it?" RTI activist Aruna Roy asked participants at the 14th National Journalists Conference of the Indian Catholic Press Association in Bangalore, May 12th.
"RTI is given what I called the 'building blocks'. Government is trying to enact penalties. Bureaucrats do not want their penalties. This is the first act through which an ordinary citizen can practice the government of India. It is defined that declaration of information is more important and healthy than secrecy. This act is a democratic Bible for all of us. We should read and understand the law and it will come handy at any time"
She urged the gathering to "file an application, demand an answer" and not remain as a mute spectator to government apathy. We have to use the RTI to put truth before the people of India. This is an important legislation after independent India. The unfortunate thing is that we are not using it. The Press should give the policies of the government and not just focus on advertisements and entertainment."
"Of late, Media has been taken over corporate houses. Market is trying to capture and they want to make us 'standardized clones' to think and do the same thing. That is the danger that is happening to the media now".