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Need For Laws Protecting Rights Of Media

India, being a democratic country provides to its citizens certain fundamental rights. Freedom of speech and expression is one of the important fundamental right guaranteed under the constitution of India. Freedom of Media is indeed an integral part of freedom of expression.

The media is the forth estate of Indian democracy, the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, being the other three. Media plays a vital role in Indian democracy. it is important for shaping the public minds and democracy. Media acts as a mirror for Indian society that reflects the reality and hence can be harsh sometimes. freedom of press is the distinguished quality of a democratic country. as we all know that man is a social animal and it is inherent in human nature to interact with people, to exchange ideas, to be informed about changes in society, without such interaction society can not function in order. so the media acts as an eye for citizen in the democracy.

Need for protection:
As we all know media is an important part of our lives but there are some people whose opinion differs .because media tends to bring transparency and sometimes its not good for people’s reputation. Freedom of press is a fundamental right that government itself can not violate but still it’s the most violated right.

There have been constant press freedom violation including abuses by political leaders, threats from criminal groups, police violence or threats by corrupt local official. Journalism has become one of the most dangerous profession to practice in India.

There were prominent journalists like Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar, M.M Kalburgi and Shujaat Bhukhari who hhave paid the ultimate price for uncovering the truths.From 2000,more than 64 jouranalists have killed on duty. Uttar Pradesh holds the distinguished place with the highest number of journalists killd since year 2000.
Hence, to maintain the uniformity and transparency of Indian Democracy. The government should make effective laws and provision for protection of media.

The Press Freedom Index:
The press freedom index is an annual report published by reporters without borders.the report is partially based on observation of the organisations and partially on questionnaire and interviews regarding the freedom of press and independence and transparency.

According to this report, in 2019 India was at 142nd place out of 180 countries. however “the word press freedom index 2020” said that with no murders of journalist in India in 2019as against six in 2018,the security situation for the country’s media might seem to have improved. And now India is on 140th rank that is still not so good.

Maharashtra is the only state with a law for protection of media:
The Maharashtra is the first state to pass a bill Maharashtra Media person and Media Institutions. (Prevention of violence and damage or loss to property) Bill,2017,one of the first law in the country which ensures protection for journalist. The Bill was passed by Devendra Fadnavis Government and recommends punishment upto 3 years and fine upto Rs 50000 or both in case of attack on media persons on duty. Acts of violence against media persons will be treated as cognizable, non-bailable and cases under this law will be investigated by an officer not below the rank of DySP/ACP.

The law cautions on the filing of false complaints by a media person for which he/she can be tried and given a similar punishment. Chhattisgarh and Bihar, where several media persons have come under attack in the past, are also mulling a similar legislation for the safety of journalists. As per the Maharashtra legislation, the offender shall be liable to pay compensation for damage or loss caused to the property of the mediaperson or the media house as determined by court. The assailant would be liable to reimburse the medical expenditure incurred by the media persons in the attack.

The risk factor in the profession of journalism is rapidly increasing. They face violence and intimidation for practicing their fundamental rights. They range of threats they are getting include kidnapping, murder, online harassment, forced detention and torture. As they are working for the good of society hence they must be protected against crimes. one can not imagine a profound democracy without the Media.

Increasingly journalist, especially women journalists are facing online harassment, defamation, abuse, cyber bullying, trolling, public shaming and threats. There is need for effective laws for protection of media and journalists.

The efforts of Maharashtra Governemnt is appreciated and other states should also take initiative to make such laws which are in intrest of journalism.

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