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How RTI changed the face of Investigative Journalism in India forever

The RTI Act has helped investigative journalism is getting information that otherwise would have been almost impossible to unearth despite legal provisions. Using the story line 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 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’

Perhaps no other journalist has utilized the RTI Act as often and brilliantly as Syamlal 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 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.

  • 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 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 the 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 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 peers and future journalists can learn from his experiences and at the same time be encouraged to ask their own relevant in their own content.

  • Brigitte Alfter, acclaimed Fol activist and investigative journalist of Europe; Managing Editor at Journalismfund.eu

Shyamlal Yadav is one of the main resources 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 genuinety. 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