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Infocracy India: Become a social lawyer and community journalist

A man walks along a beach, picks up a starfish and flings it into the ocean. He does it with all the starfish he finds. Someone asks him: “Hey! There are thousands of starfish here. What difference are you making?” The man bends down, picks up another starfish and flings it into the ocean. “It makes difference to this one.”

Freeing information

The Right to Information (RTI) exercised and replicated across regions turns instances into movements. Many movements have been constructed around the RTI Act and most of them have yielded transformative results.

Infocracy India is a new initiative to carry this proactive tradition forward and use law students and media to bring consequential change in our society and build more accountable and transparent spaces.

Law students will become RTI activists in a proactive and sustained manner, getting trained in community journalism and social lawyering as they go along.

We also want to create a resource database which any information-seeker can use to form a community to focus meaningful attention on the issues the group takes up.

Infocracy will also help poor and illiterate persons – and not just Indian citizens – to file RTIs vicariously and seek information that could help bring some justice for the most marginalised and voiceless.

The Infocracy India website at www.infocracyindia.org will be a collaborative platform where anyone can pitch RTI ideas, share RTI experiences, download RTI applications, search RTI results and witness the impact of RTI. Everything will be available for free download and we hope this will assist and encourage others to exercise their rights.

The website will also help anyone file an RTI by filling in a simple form or making a phone call.

The Infocracy website and others will also carry stories on RTI results and impact to create an open group of investigative, community journalists.

  • RTI APPLICATIONS: Drafting an action-oriented rigorous RTI application is a craft which can be learnt and having success with RTIs is an artform. Tell us about the RTI application you filed and we’ll be publishing some good ones for free download.
  • RTI RESULTS: We’ll be sharing the information we get via RTI applications filed by our student journalists with readers on Legally India and Lawctopus.
  • RTI IMPACT: Did the RTI application create the desired impact? What do the people feel about the change? Documenting the change and presenting it to the media and public in concise readable formats will help build strong and self-sustaining community support around the issues we take up.

Like the Infocracy Facebook page at www.facebook.com/iandrti

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APPLY: A Call to Activist Law Students and Law School Legal Aid Societies

Infocracy India uses the tools of law and social media. Anyone can contribute towards the website. Here are some of the ways in which you can be a part of this platform.

A. LAW STUDENTS: Be an Infocracy India Student Activist

We’ll be recruiting 10-15 dedicated law student activists who will be working with Infocracy India. While any one can contribute, empanelled students will contribute more significantly.

Each of the student activists will commit to file one RTI application per month, share results and compile the information received in a readable format. 

Necessary qualifications

  • Excellent research and writing skills.
  • Willingness to work for the next 4-6 months and devote around 2-3 hours per week.

The selection process

Interested students are to email their applications to Tanuj Kalia at tanuj[at]lawctopus.com and Kian Ganz at kian.ganz[at]legallyindia.com by 2231 March, 2010. [application deadline extended due to college holidays]

What do you get?

For starters you must be a student who loves social justice and is able to work towards that end without any incentive. The pleasure will lie in the pursuit!

  • A certificate from Legally India specifying achievements.
  • A learning experience in social lawyering and legal research and journalism and a warm, happy feeling.

The application should consist of:

  1. A two-page CV – Please include levels of language proficiency, written and spoken.
  2. Statement of purpose of up to 200 words. Do make it convincing and personal.
  3. An RTI idea and a draft RTI application on it. We’ll rate the idea and the application on the potential of social good the RTI application and applicant can generate. Please do your research well.

If a good number of applications are received, the statement of purpose and the RTI application of the top candidates will be featured on Legally India and Lawctopus.


B. Law School Legal Aid Society’ Teams

Student representatives and faculty heads of Legal Aid Societies (LAS) across India are requested to get in touch with Tanuj Kalia at tanuj[at]lawctopus.com and Kian Ganz at kian.ganz[at]legallyindia.com.

The Legal Aid Society can designate a maximum of two teams consisting of two to five members each, which will represent the college on the Infocracy platform.

The job of the LAS’ teams will be similar to that of what the individual student researchers do.

The platform will allow LASs across India to learn from each other, replicate successful models, share resources and repeat RTI applications which have seen success in their regions.

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