Is information about stringers exempt from disclosure under RTI Act?
The list of those booked in current affairs programmes by Doordarshan, Srinagar and payments made to them was refused under Section 8(1)(g) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; of the RTI Act claiming that they are performing an anti militancy job. It was mentioned that some staff members were brutally killed by the militants for being associated with the Doordarshan and it would be dangerous to provide the information which can jeopardize the lives of these casual hands. It was claimed that the information sought is very confidential as the Stringers involved are doing anti-militancy work and disclosure would jeopardize their lives.
The respondents submitted to the Central information Commission that the applicant is a cheat and a blackmailer who is not seeking the information in public interest. It was also claimed that the appellant is a fraud who has betrayed this organization, by producing fake papers of his camera.
View of CIC
The Commission had sent a notice to the PIO about the complaint filed before it with a direction to send the information to the Complainant on 05/09/2011. However there was no response. The Commission noted that there is letter from the Director (Programs) & PIO of claiming exemption under Section 8(1) (g) of the RTI Act. In view of this, the Commission provided one more opportunity to the PIO to appear before the Commission.
The Appellant submitted that the refusal of the information is not correct since the stringers are known to everybody and the casual news readers are shown on the TV itself. The respondent states that the stringers about whom information has been sought are not shown on the TV screen and it is necessary not to disclose their identities since they are under threat from militants and terrorists. The Commission found merit in the plea and ruled that the information is exempt under Section 8(1) (g) of the RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Bilal Ahmad Reshi v. Doordarshan in file no. CIC/SG/C/2011/000995
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/128
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission