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Whistleblowers In India Risk Being Murdered

Bloomberg reporters Mehul Srivastava and Andrew MacAskill published a story today about the recent murders of whistleblowers who tried to expose government corruption in India.

The disturbing report said at least twelve people have been killed since January 2010 after they used India’s Right to Information Act to expose local graft.

At least forty other whistleblowers have been attacked and injured during the past two years, Bloomberg said.

Most of the murder victims lived in small towns or villages, Bloomberg said, and none lived in India’s ten biggest cities.

More than a half million requests were filed under the Right to Information Act through March this year, Bloomberg said. ‘While some cases have prompted the resignation of public officials, users risk becoming victims of their success.’

On the importance of the six-year-old Right to Information Act, the story said:

For slum dwellers, filing a request under the law, known as RTI, was almost as effective as paying a bribe in getting a new ration card, according to a 2008 series of field experiments by Leonid Peisakhin and Paul Pinto, who were doctoral candidates at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Those who did nothing never received their card or waited three times as long, the researchers found in a 2009 paper.

“It is a tragedy that these people have died, but it is also a sign of how powerful a tool the law is,” Subhash Agrawal, an anti-corruption campaigner, told Bloomberg. 

Kudos to Bloomberg’s Mehul Srivastava and Andrew MacAskill for their outstanding reporting.

The full article is available here.

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