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ZA KISWAHILI

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Media Council of Tanzania Website

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Right to information (RTI) legislation raises the level of awareness among members of the public, two Indian

activists told editors and Senior journalists in Dar es Salaam.

Nikhil Dey and Kiran Bhatty said though the legislation is not a panacea or Magic wand to social ills like corruption, it is an important step in breaking the “government wall”.

The legislations has made a huge difference in India, they said during a Brief engagement on RTI organized jointly by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and Twaweza a non-governmental organization on August 14, 2014.

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Nikhil Dey is from a non-party peoples organization – MKSS and Kiran Bhatty is from Centre for policy Research shared with the editors India’s experience on implementing the RTI legislation.

Highlighting the relevance of RTI, Nikhil Dey cited the response of a common and illiterate person in India who was challenged by journalists at a press conference to explain why she thought the legislation was important to her.

Her response, he said, surprised most of the journalists as she explained that when she gives 10 rupees to her young son to buy provisions in a local market, she would demand explanation on how the money was spent.

In the same score, she questioned why can’t government explain on how it spends the colossal amount of funds allocated for development projects in her locality?

He said the common people are the foot soldiers in demanding information through public rallies and meetings.

RTI may initially appear impossible to achieve, but with unshaken determination, it is possible to achieve, Day said emphatically.

As Tanzania is in the process of demanding the enactment of the Right to Information legislation, Khiran Bhatty advised that the process should involve all spectrum of the population.

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The process should not be ‘top down’ ,she said explaining that RTI does not necessarily depend on the level of literacy in a country.

A member of the Coalition on the Right to Information headed by (MCT), Godfrey Mpandikizi narrated the efforts taken by the coalition to press for the enactment of the RTI in the country.

He was optimistic that since the draft national constitution has provisions on right to information, it was indicative and positive development for advancing RTI.

The Executive Director of Twaweza, Rakesh Rajan said that it was important for the media to press for the enactment of RTI.

Pili Mtambalike, the Regulation and Standards Manager of MCT who moderated the brief engagement of the media representatives with the Indian activists highlighted the importance of RTI as the public would be informed and hold authorities accountable.

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