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Journalism through RTI

Journalism through RTI
Information Investigation Impact

First Edition

June 2017 | 244 pages | SAGE India

How RTI changed the face of investigative journalism in India, forever…

The RTI Act has helped investigative journalism in getting information that otherwise would have been almost impossible to unearth despite legal provisions. Using the storyline approach, the author, through his own experiences, unravels how news was collected through persistent efforts using RTI, how the stories evolved, and how the subject was followed up keeping an eye on the rightful impact. Hence the emphasis is less on theory and more on practical aspects, making the book ‘a story behind India’s biggest news stories’.


Foreword by Raj Kamal Jha
1. Advent of RTI and Role of Media
2. Foreign Travels of Ministers: 256 Rounds of the Globe
3. Foreign Travel of Bureaucrats: 74 Up–Down Trip to the Moon
4. I Hereby Declare: Assets Declaration in Public Domain
5. India’s Steel Frame: Corruption Cases against IAS/IPS/IRS
6. Stream of Filth: Cleaning the Rivers through RTI
7. Personnel in Personal Staff of MPs: All in Family
8. Light Every Corner: RTI Everywhere in the Government
9. NGOs Funded by Government: JSSs and KVKs
10. Passing the Buck: Misuse of RTI by Public Authorities
11. How a Journalist Can Use RTI and See the Change

“A must-have and a must-read book for reporters, editors, researchers, all those who teach journalism and, of course, citizens too who can see for themselves what a 10-rupees demand draft and a powerful law can do.”


Raj Kamal Jha,
Chief Editor, The Indian Express

Perhaps no other journalist has utilized the RTI Act as often and as brilliantly as Shyamlal Yadav has done for a decade now. From high-level corruption to the junkets of ministers whose travel miles added up to 256 times the circumference of the earth, from insane asset declarations to money channeled to dubious NGOs, he’s exposed it all, using RTI. Yet, this fine and important book is more than the sum of his own outstanding stories. It is also a concise history of the RTI, its role in a democratic society, and the powerful tool it offers the investigative journalist. Read this book. Learn about RTI—and about our society.

P. Sainath,
Journalist, Author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought

Shyamlal Yadav’s pioneering work on RTI has made him one of India’s finest investigative journalists. His book reflects his passion for truth and persistence on facts and will be an extremely useful reference and guide for any young person aspiring to join the media.

Prabhu Chawla,
renowned journalist

Shyamlal Yadav is an RTI activist of a different kind. He has married information to its rightful bride, the newspaper, and transformed it into an instrument of social change. The contents of his book show the range and depth of his inquiry. I am sure those who conceived of this law had someone like Shyamlal in their mind to take this law forward, both to expand and explore its potential and to make the powerful also accountable. RTI needs more Shyamlals.

Satyanand Mishra,
Former Chief Information Commissioner, CIC

Shyamlal Yadav not only masters to use the Indian Right to Information law as a powerful tool for his journalistic work, even more importantly, in his role as author, Shyamlal Yadav also masters the art of inspiration and sharing. His book includes detailed practical examples as well as necessary perspectives so peers and future journalists can learn from his experiences and at the same time be encouraged to ask their own questions relevant in their own context. —

Brigitte Alfter,
acclaimed FoI activist and investigative journalist of Europe; Managing Editor at

Shyamlal Yadav is one of the main reasons that India’s RTI law is so powerfully effective. He has not only shown how to collect startling documents from government but also demonstrated that these facts can be turned into powerful stories that move people to action. To those who say that we are in a “post-fact” era, I say: Look at Shyamlal Yadav. He has already earned his place as a historic figure in the global freedom of information movement, and he has only begun.

Mark Lee Hunter,
Paris-based author, scholar, and investigative journalist, Editor of UNESCO’s Global Investigative Journalism Casebook

Journalists throughout the world who specialize in using access to information laws have learnt through experience that success needs care and determination. Shyamlal Yadav has used India’s RTI law very effectively to reveal important new stories, with persistence, thorough research and ingenuity. This is his impressive account of how he did it—and how others can learn from his example.

Martin Rosenbaum,
BBC News specialist in using the FOI Act, Executive Producer in the BBC Political Programmes department

The book illuminates the whole point about freedom of information and how empowering legislation around it can be… If you are a journalist, editor, or someone who works in the news media, it is worth a read.


Business Standard, 4 August 2017

A seasoned practitioner tells us how he has used RTI to great effect. In his advance praise for the book, Satyananda Mishra, former chief information commissioner, says, “Yadav has married information to its rightful bride, the newspaper, and transformed it into an instrument of social change.” Such words, coming as they do from a former chief information commissioner, ornament and highlight the worth of what is essentially a no-frills book that sets out how one man extracted information in the public interest from the coils of red tape – and how you could do it too, with some persistence… [It] is a veritable library of case studies: of interesting and apparently not so interesting (but relevant) questions, Yadav has found answers to the questions.


Governance Now, 31 August 2017

This book explains the potential of the RTI in India: to connect investigative journalism with critical issues of transparency and accountability in democratic governance.This story has all the facts that a person might want to know about RTI( Right to Information),The author  through his own experiences, unravels how news was collected through persistent efforts using RTI, this book offer answers to the challenges people face.

OPEN WEEKLY, 9 April 2018

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ISBN: 9789386062833

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