Watchdog journalism: India's three largest English-language newspapers and the Right to Information Act

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

India's Right to Information Act (RTIA) has been described as one of the strongest laws in the world for access to public information. The preamble spells out its promise to expose government corruption. Given that the Indian news media is the largest in the world and has a storied history of unearthing public corruption, this exploratory study employed the normative theory of the monitorial role of the news media to examine the extent that the RTIA was used to uncover government corruption. This content analysis examined a census of 221 articles published in India's three largest English-language newspapers in the period after the RTIA was adopted in October 2005 and then five years later. Slightly more than 80% of the articles referencing corruption fell into four thematic categories: progress on implementing the law, public education about the legislation, the watchdog role of activists and other non-journalists, and a brief mention of the RTIA. During this period the English-language dailies reported their own use of the RTIA to expose corruption in 2% of the articles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-301
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • India
  • Right to Information Act
  • South Asia
  • corruption
  • democracy
  • freedom of information
  • watchdog journalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education

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