Sunday 25 August 2019

Goa's Oldest Online News Portal

Issues | Right to Info

Goan scribes to make Right to Info a national issue

 

Journalists agitating in Goa over an anti-media clause in the right to information bill have now decided to take up the issue at national level, as the congress government here is still acting adamant despite most of the opposition parties changing their stand on the issue.

The ongoing state-wide campaign against the draconian clause has been receiving tremendous response from the mofussil correspondents as well as several other NGOs and freedom fighters at village level. As a result, at least three major political parties representing in the house have urged the governor to refer the bill back to the assembly for a review.

The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak party, to whom belongs union law minister Ramakant Khalap, has even reiterated journalists' demand that an ordinance be issued to delete the objectionable clause in the bill. But the government has preferred to send the bill for governor's assent, not applying its mind on ordinance.

The BJP as well as the united Goans democratic party, led by south Goa MP Churchill Alemao, have also protested against the clause, stating that the clause could also affect the general public and even the legislators, who voice out irregularities in the administration.

The clause in the final bill now states : "Where a person obtains information under this act for malafide purposes or publishes in any manner information, which he has reason to believe to be false, shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than Rs 100 and not more than Rs 500.

"The framing of words is such that the words "malafide" and "in any manner" can be interpreted in any manner by those in power. Secondly, why a person who obtains the information should be punished if government supplies false information", asks Prakash Kamat, president of the Goa Union of Journalists.

The agitating journalists have also brought it to the notice of the people that the offence is made cognizable, giving free hand to the ruling politicians from panchayat to state administration level to use police machinery to harass the person who speaks against the government misdeeds.

The local congress however is vertically divided on the issue while chief minister Pratapsing Rane still maintains that the clause would be reviewed only in the winter session, beginning in December. As he has turned down the demand of ordinance, the journalists have now decided to intensify its agitation.

"We will now contact national level bodies of editors and journalists, besides prominent editors and columnists, to make it a national issue. It's necessary in view of a similar bill to be presented in the parliament in the winter session", states Ashwin Tombat, secretary of the guild.

Ironically, the ruling congress party is being totally isolated while all other parties and NGOs have been coming forward to support the media on the issue. Goa PCC chief Shantaram Naik is the only party leader who has not written to the governor demanding deletion of the clause, though he echoed the journalists' demand as a face-saving device.






Name
Place
Email
Comments
Verification Code Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image
 

Issues

 
 
 

Right to Info

» Info Commission clashes ...
» CIC and SICs ...
» Govt finally appoints ...
» Posting 'offensive' content ...
» Pvt schools come ...
» CIC Mehndle upset ...
» RTI activists making ...
» Penalise HoDs for ...
» Govt info is ...
» RTI not sufficient ...