'Information for media under RTI should be expedited'

'Information for media under RTI should be expedited'

He said there was a rat race in the media for providing ‘latest and updated’ information for that day and “the FIR culture of the RTI may not fit into the working style of the media.” However, it needs a careful consideration, he added.

Delivering his keynote address at the two-day regional seminar on ‘Converting electoral democracy into participatory democracy: Role of RTI and media’, organised by the Media Information and Communication Centre of India (MICCI) and WFD and Friedrich Ebert Foundation, India at the Institution of Engineers here on Wednesday, Shanth Kumar lamented that by and large media - print and electronic - have not done enough to utilise the Act to get information in the last four years. “Awareness among the journalists about this Act is not good either. May be because there is a tendency among today’s journalists to practice ‘arm-chair journalism’ than getting out and seeking information,” he said.

Media’s responsibilities

Giving an example of a journalism institute where the students did a wonderful job through the RTI Act, Shanth Kumar felt that journalists should be trained in using the RTI Act. However, he was quick to add that if the information based on the data obtained using RTI was not made into an interesting report that would hold the attention of the reader, the journalist would have achieved too little. Perhaps, the media needed to rediscover itself to understand their responsibilities towards the society.

Referring to the decrease in anti-establishment stories from the journalists, Shanth Kumar said that there was a general perception that media houses excessively rely on the advertisements revenue. But he said that “media agencies in the world are not so ‘cheap’ to rely excessively on advertisements.”

MICCI Director Nandini Sahay, Additional Deputy Commissioner Betsurmuth, FES-India, Senior Media Advisor Rajeshwar Dayal and journalist Ishwar Daitota were present.