In a first of its kind initiative, leading media houses of the country have come together to launch a campaign against bribe. The ‘Drive Against Bribe’ has been spearheaded by Parivartan, an NGO, which has brought together the NDTV Group (NDTV 24x7, NDTV India, NDTV Profit), HT Group (Hindustan Times, Hindustan) Prabhat Khabar, Deshonnati, Andhra Jyothi, Raj Express, Dharitiri and The Hindu to launch a mega drive against bribe.
The nationwide campaign, launched on July 1, 2006, is running in 48 cities of India across 15 states and is aimed at exhorting people to desist from paying bribes. The campaign will be on till July 15, 2006.
The campaign is aimed at advising people to take the help of self help groups backed by these media houses and use the Right to Information Act in resolving their grievances with the Government effectively and expeditiously.
The campaign has been conceptualised by Parivartan, an NGO on RTI (Right to Information) activities. Its chief, Arvind Kejriwal, met Harivansh, Editor of Prabhat Khabar, and discussed the idea with him. It was decided to broad base this campaign across major Indian cities. The NGO got support from NDTV as well.
Sharing their views on the need for coming up with the campaign, an activist of Parivartan, Rajiv Kumar, said, “People have to pay bribes in their daily interaction with government departments – be it getting a passport or a ration card or a license or an income tax refund. Everyone has to either pay a bribe or face harassment. Even if bribe is not asked, there are certain cases where work is simply not being due to a lazy bureaucracy. What does one do in such a situation? Now with RTI Act, the common man does not need to pay any bribes. The Right to Information Act gets the work done. People are already using RTI to get their work done in different government departments. However, the number of such people is insignificant. This is because there is little awareness amongst people about it. It is felt that if a large section of people started using the RTI Act it would be a major step in cleaning up the system.”
Vishaka Communication, Delhi has designed a six ads as part of the build up campaign, which were released in all the participating newspapers during the June 15-30, 2006 period. There are three more ‘call to action’ ads that are currently being released through the same channel. Prabhat Khabar has also released a book called ‘Soochnaadhikar’, which has been co-authored by its journalist Vishnu Rajgaria and Arvind Kejriwal of Parivartan.