Freedom of the press is the mortar that binds together the bricks of democracy
- and it is also the open window embedded in those bricks
.- Shashi Tharoor
Recently, The report of World Press Freedom Index 2020 was published by Reporters without borders
. This report indicates the freedom of press in the
different countries around the globe. This year India dropped to two places
compared to last year index to be ranked 142 out of 180 countries which clearly
indicates continuous breakdown of media in this country.
It clearly put the
liberty of each and every citizen of the country in peril. In order to make the
democracy work in vibrant manner, Transparency is necessary and if the Media of
the country is not free from the prejudice, Freedom of speech is a far cry in
this country. Nevertheless, on a brighter side, Atleast No journalist died in
2019 as compare to six last year.
Media is an important source of knowledge for people in and outside established
limits in today's world.
The government and the citizens of the country have
always acted as an interface. At all sides, it lets people get facts and views
from the other side, creating a bridge between government and people. Media is
the fundamental data base. It is written, interactive, social, etc. in various
With the help of technology and easy access, media has defined a great role
especially in a democratic country where it is expected of the media to be free
from any prejudices. It creates people's opinion, it let people know about both
side of the story so it helps in making rationale judgements in the mind of the
people. Media is always expected to provide correct and authentic
Yet people's belief somewhere in the present age has begun to
deteriorate because today's media is drifting from its fundamental role which is
to bridge the gap between the People and the government, People of one country
to another country and above all to remain a stalwart supporter of liberty,
All facets of the media are equally relevant and affect people greatly. Social
networking is one of today's most commonly used media throughout the world.
Public domains like Facebook, twitter has become a key source to provide
information to the people throughout the world. Twitter alone has 330 million
active accounts and Facebook 2.45 billion as of recent reports. Online platforms
which are certainly free of cost, the only reason why they're accessed by all
the segments of the world, it helps in making government answerable for all its
acts which are done in official capacity not only to the country but also to
rest of the world.
For example, Recently The case of Myanmar where After Aung
San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) swept the polls by winning
almost 80% of the vote, Myanmar's military staged a coup and declared a state of
Emergency for a year, this issue gained worldwide condemnation from the
countries around the world like USA, RUSSIA, INDIA.
India has the world's largest media market, with over 82237 journals and over
900 TV news channels operating in many languages across India. These figures
continue to count every day, but nowadays Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and many
others are the key reason for displaying their entertainment, political
The media can be regarded as a bipolar tool, as an accounting media and as an
unaccountable media, through which the country can be elevated to the highest
level by strong assistance of accountable media and led to destruction of the
nation with the assistance of latter one.
In order for a democratic country to function its system in full, public
involvement is imperative, and information to the masses or to the number of
citizens is consequently required, which is called mass media participation.
Media And Justice
Recent cases like Disha's rape case
(Andhra Pradesh), Unnao rape case (Uttar
Pradesh), Arushi Talwar Murder Case media has played a vital role in expediting
the judicial process and bringing culprits to the books of law.
Media has played imminent role in making plight of the people heard to the
masses, with the help of media, Apex court is able to give speedy justice to the
deprived class of the society by taking Suo moto Cognizance guaranteed under
Article 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution.
- Brij Bhushan V. State of Delhi & Romesh Thapar V. State of Madras 1950
AIR 129, 1950 SCR 605(RSS Publication Organizer Pre Censorship Case)
Supreme court held that, the imposition of pre-censorship of a journal is a
restriction on the liberty of the press which is an essential part of the
freedom of the speech and expression declared by Article 19(1) (a)." Similarly,
prohibiting newspaper from publication of its own views or the views of
correspondents about the burning topic of the day is a serious encroachment on
the valuable right of the freedom of speech and expression.
This case was decided along with Romesh Thapar vs State of Madras and reasoning
of the case of Braj Bhushan Sharma was given in Romesh Thapar case and vice
versa. Both of these cases were decided by the Supreme Court of India sitting en
banc and on the same day. Braj Bhushan Sharma case was about the pre-censorship
while Romesh Thapar case was about the restriction of circulation and entry of
magazine crossroad in Madras state. These cases were landmark cases of Freedom
of Press and Speech / Expression. Effect of these rulings were overcome by the
1st amendment of Indian Constitution.
- Indian Express Newspaper v. Union of India 986 AIR 515,1985
The press is called the fourth pillar of a nation and the fact that the people
still have access is extremely significant. The supply of newspapers was
severely impacted by the introduction of taxes on newspapers. The press has the
ability to alter opinions of people, but when we impose a heavy tax on it then
we are narrowing down the possibility of it reaching to more and more people and
Through overburdening the press with taxes, government cannot deny their right
to freedom of speech. This will only be termed as nail in the coffin of the
Freedom of media is an integral part of our constitution, Supreme Court in
numerous landmark judgment has mentioned it. In today's Era it's the need of
the hour to free media from all sort of Prejudice and let the work freely and
honest manner. Media termed as fourth pillar of the constitution on which our
whole democracy is relied upon.
Only if the media form time to time scrutinize
the policies of government critically and deliver the honest information to
every citizen of the country and the government provide adequate support to them
and work in harmonious manner with them, then only the dream of absolute freedom
of press can be achieved.
Freedom of Press is a precious Privilege that no country can forego