Freedom of press is one of the pillars of Indian democracy. Where Four pillars must play own duty to make a strong democracy.
Freedom of press is nowhere written in Indian constitution but in American constitution freedom of press included in the first constitutional amendment.
We have to admit that freedom of the press is directly related to the freedom of speech and expression.
What is freedom of the press?
It should be the principle that includes publishing material and spreading it freely. Such action should be performed in the absence of interference of the state.
Importance of Freedom of press:
- Identifies the track of crimes and important cases.
- Identifies the flaws of government scheme and provide a solution.
- Spread awareness about pollution, education.
- Encourage people to seek their rights and security.
- Aware people about government autocracy, therefore, the importance of preventing democracy.
Now the question is do they really work for democracy in India or forced to not to do so.
CPJ – A committee to protect journalist, a non-profit organisation in New York has reported this in CPJ.ORG
“FOR 36 YEARS CPJ HAS PRESEVERED IN THE FIGHT TO DEFEND JOURNAL IS STAND UP HOLD PRESS FREEDOM ACROSS THE GLOBE. WE MEET WITH LEADERS OF COUNTRIES WHERE JOURNALISTS ARE ROUTINELY CENSORED, ATTACKED, KILLED, OR IMPRISONED FOR THEIR WORK. WE PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO JOURNALISTS FORCED TO FLEE THEIR COUNTRIES. AND WE DOCUMENT AND CAMPAIGN AGAINST THOUSANDS OF VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE PRESS”. – CPJ
2018 Freedom of press index has been released. And India slipped 2 places from 136 to 138 among 180 countries. In 2017 India slipped for 3 places from 133 to 136. So declining of freedom of the press in continues.
For related Topic: Intolerance reality vs Myth
The reason for Declining:
- Various assault of journalists Akshay Singh(Vyapam scam), M.M Kulbargi, Narendra Dhabolkar.
- Fake news, paid news to gain extra mileage
- Corruption in the management of media house and unhealthy competition between different media house.
- Competition for getting more TRP.
- No laws for the protection of sources. A journalist may be held in contempt of court for not disclosing his/her source.
- The criminal law ordinance 2017, put a restriction on media.
- Defamation cases are filed against Journalists.
- More RTI (Right to Information) activists are becoming murdered because of their vulnerability.
- Day by day investigative reporting is getting dangerous.
There are many countries like India has imposed a restriction on freedom of expression in certain grounds. According to article 19(2) put restrictions on free speech under these cases:
- Security of the State
- Friendly Relations with the Foreign States
- Public Order
- Decency and Morality
- Contempt of Court
- Incitement to an Offence
- Sovereignty and Integrity of India
The media works as a multifaceted source of delivering news on various activities. But in some cases it becomes problematic. Like the time when NDTV was banned during the broadcasting of a terrorist attack in Pathankot. The reason was that the media released some sensitive details about the attack, such as locations, residential area etc. This leaked information could easily be tracked by the terrorist handlers and become a bigger problem for the civilization and the national security. That is why in some cases the freedom of speech restriction is mandatory.
What Measurements Can Be Taken?
- Media should be more careful towards the news they are providing to the world. Because there are people always looking to misuse it.
- BCCC (Broadcasting Content Complaint Council) should have more power to them. So that they can have the authority to take actions against any complaints.
- There is all sort of paid news floating around channels, which is why people don’t know who to trust anymore. These kinds of news should be non-bailable.
- Implementing and imposing Whistle Blowers Protection Act, to stop media misusing their powers.
- Implantation of TRAI in media ownership is very important. So that people cannot pay to air or publish their news. And if they did, it can become transparent in front of people.
There is some good side of restricting freedom of speech as well as a bad side. But for the sack of greater good, media should be more careful and sensitive towards some cases. Media has the power to make people believe in whatever news they are spreading to the world, which can have some bad effects sometimes. The Indian media is the fourth pillar of the democracy and they should pay more attention to improvise this. So that, the ranking of Indian media can go up.