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Sunday, May 24, 2009

MPs' Expenses controversies in UK

Our press and media has been pre-occupied with with election related news. During the same period, there have been fascinating and dramatic developments in UK. Records obtained with the help of Freedom of Information law and other sources revealed massive misuse of public money by Members of Parliament. 

Daily Telegraph had deployed 10 journalist to probe into records, which revealed blatant misuse of public money by MPs. This is an ongoing political scandal following the disclosure of expenses of British Members of Parliament. It involves the disclosure of widespread alleged misuse of the permitted allowances and expenses claimed by Members of Parliament. There was an attempts by MPs to exempt themselves from Freedom of Information legislation. Ultimately information had to be revealed and was given extensive coverage in press and media. 

There is genuine concern among MPs that Parliament has never been held in lower regard by members of the public. Even MPs who have done nothing wrong are reported to be considering quitting as they are considered "crooks" by the public. 

There are several important lessons for India: 

(A) RTI /FOI law leads to effective public accountability.

(B) Beneficiaries of corrupt practices try to avoid transparency. Transparency is essential to prevent misuse of public money.

(C) Press and media can make good use of information revealed with the help of RTI/FOI laws. It is also their social responsability to educate the readers/audience.

Posted by Dhirendra Krishna on on 
Sun, May 24, 2009 at 1:26 PM

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