Freedom of Information legislation researched
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Visiting Fellow, Abhinav Garg, has completed three months of research at Cardiff University's journalism school where he has compared the UK’s Freedom of Information Act with its counterpart in India, The Right to Information Act.
During an interview with the School’s Professor Duncan Bloy, Abhinav said: “I was quite surprised to see the similarities in the experiences of India and the United Kingdom” before commenting upon the often held view that the UK Act is misused by journalists to create copy for their stories.
“I have come across that view and I disagree with it. First, I think there should be a ten year period before you can start being critical about an Act.
“And secondly the journalist is not using the information for his or her personal gain, in fact the information gets published, possibly on television and it only gets amplified… In a way I think it’s a huge advantage if journalists are using it.”
The Charles Wallace Trust made Abhinav's visit possible by awarding him the Iqbal Sarin Visiting Fellowship in Journalism.
The Trust, established by the British Council in 1981, enables Indian academics and writers to spend time in top universities for up to three months.
A journalist at the Times of India, reporting the daily High Court proceedings, Abhinav had experienced first hand the introduction of the Indian Right to Information Act in 2005 and chose to use the fellowship to compare it with the UK’s Act which was introduced in the same year.
He now plans to write a thesis comparing his experiences in the UK with his “ringside experience” in India, and also address some of the challenges which lay ahead for both acts.
For more information about the Fellowship please contact the British Council directly.
Abhinav Garg, Summer 2009 Charles Wallace Fellowship
Paromita Pain, Summer 2008 Charles Wallace Fellowship