THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION
Freedom of expression is the touchstone of Democracy. The people should be allowed to form their opinion and express their will through newspapers, radio, television, meetings and seminars. But the problem is that if there is restriction on any of these the people cannot form their opinion about the nation and the political and economic development of the country. Now that the age of voting right has been reduced from 21 to 18 the young people should know what is going on in the country. They can form their opinion only when all information is passed on to them without any restriction. When a person, a family, group or a party remains in power for a long time he or it wants to stick to the chair. Long rule generally begets corruption. The long rule of the Communist party in East European countries and China was responsible for such a great corruption that the young students revolted against it. They wanted to know who the main culprits were. But the Communist Government withdrew the information and suppressed the movement. It has been a common feature in all the Communist countries. But Russia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia have come out of their nutshell. They opposed the massacre of young men in China. Withdrawing information was possible in Communist countries (not now) or Military run administrations where the voter has no rights. But it is
not possible in democratic countries like Great Britain, France or the USA (America). The people have the right to know what the government does. Nothing can be kept secret in the name of ‘the interest or security of the nation’. It neither is rather sad that in most of the backward nations the people have neither the right to form their government nor of expressing their views nor of gathering information about what the government does. They are not democracies.
Although India is a democratic country the democratic freedom of expression is at low ebb. The government runs by one party and one family since independence would like to stick to the seat of power. The true information in many cases of corruption like Bofors and of murder like that of Mrs. Indira Gandhi was not passed on to the people. As the Parliament had a brutal majority of the ruling party the opposition could not do anything. Radio and Television also did not reveal any information about these. Some newspapers revealed the truth. But that too was limited. If the conditions remain the same Indian democracy may change into a dictatorship or autocracy.