‘the Right to Know Is the Right to Live': The Right to Information Movement in India

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Shinya ISHIZAKA, Ehime University, Japan
In India, the Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted in 2005 after the people’s movement demanded the right to information or the right to know, which had started in 1994 at a village in the state of Rajasthan. Encouraged by the RTI movement, many other rights-based legislative efforts such as the Right to Education or the Right to Food were set forward. Why and how was the idea of the right to information formed and rooted in people’s minds during the progress of the movement? This paper examines the meaning and its implications of a slogan of the movement: ‘the right to know is the right to live’. People considered the notion of the right to know primarily as a matter of the right to live rather than as a matter of freedom of expression. The movement was a part of a larger movement of eradicating corruption, which was crucially important for securing people’s subsistence. This paper also presents analysis of the mobilization processes and the organizational character of the movement. Several efforts by the movement’s leaders have contributed differently to the widespread popularity of the movement.