- Democracy in India
India is a democratic country. Media is said to be the fourth pillar of democracy so it is a cornerstone for smooth functioning of a country. The media in India enjoys a great deal of freedom and when it is threatened, the response is vociferous.
- What the constitution says?
The constitution of India guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all its citizens under Article 19, which deals with protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc. Clause (1) (a) of Article 19 states, "All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression." However, the Indian news press enjoys the freedom to engage in the business of disseminating news to audience under the right to carry out any profession, occupation, trade, industry or business, guaranteed under Article 19(1) (g).
- Traditional methods of mass media
Traditionally the propagation medium was limited to print which then was extended to television, and now internet is the latest addition in the mode of dissemination of information. India has the second-largest newspaper market in the world, with daily newspapers reporting a combined circulation of over 240 million copies.
- Recent advancements
The recent advancements in the technology have made the transmission of news very easy. It doesn't take more than a couple of seconds for the news to be all over the television as well as the social media.
THE ROLE OF MEDIA
- Electronic Media
Internet-based electronic media platforms open new resources for professional journalists and provide a platform for citizen journalists to report newsworthy events via social media and blogs. Digital sites are agile and cheap to maintain. One good example of this is the locker room scam that was exposed by using Instagram.
The media brings to light both good as well as the bad aspects of the governing bodies. Transparency in the functioning of the governing bodies, corporates or any other entity is essential.
- Spreading awareness
Media is the most powerful weapon to expose all the illegal trades that happen within the country. Even during the pandemic, we could see the Indian media very active, giving us the daily record of the cases as well as exposing the humongous amount of bills being charged by the hospitals from Covid patients. The media also has been the backbone of spreading awareness about the natural calamities such as Amphan cyclone, Nisarga cyclone, earthquakes happening in the national capitals, etc.
- A platform to put forth views
Debate and opinions on issues that are of social, economic and political importance are conducted on the news channel. We can also witness the interviews of great personalities, which otherwise would have been difficult.
- Use of freedom
The media makes use of its freedom of speech for exposing huge scams as well as asks tough questions to the concerned politicians as they are answerable to the larger section of the society. It
WHY IS THE LIMIT NECESSARY?
- The concept of freedom
Freedom in any context is never absolute. Freedom of Media is essential but rising concerns of misinformation, data manipulation, fake news, populism etc. in the current environment are making authorities to place regulations on it to some extent.
- Bombarding unnecessary information
Media many a times plays a critical role in diverting people’s attention from real issues such as unemployment, public policies, poverty etc. to unimportant issues such as personal lives of celebrities.
- We see what they show us
Media houses often tend to polarize people according to their ideologies. Sometimes they present a biased version of news and make people believe the same.
- Authenticity of the data
With the advent of internet and influx of online media sources, the authenticity of the provided information has become a huge issue. There should be some mechanism in place to contain the widespread of fake news, which may destabilize the socio- political environment of a country.
- Spreading unnecessary hatred
We have been seeing many incidences referring to unnecessary religious, political and social issues that have been spreading hatred in the society. Using social media platforms like Instagram and twitter to defame an individual for personal grievances is unethical.
- Freedom as in the constitution
Under the Constitution of India, freedom of the media is part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a). However, it does not promote freedom to misinform the public.
- Self-regulated media
Media Freedom should be regulated or not is a debatable issue. A third thought of school is “Self – Regulated Media”. The proponents of this school of thought are of the opinion that unregulated media may destabilize the socio- political environment of country and government interventions may jeopardize the freedom of expression. So, Self-regulated media is a mid-way between the two extreme methods.
- Why is it necessary?
Self-regulation in the broadcast media is the best way forward in achieving a balance between the media's duty to empower the participatory role of the people in governance and the reasonable restrictions that prevent the abuse of its immense strength.
- How do we implement?
It is a conscious decision where the media people themselves take the responsibility of broadcasting true and authentic information to the users. Accordingly, where the Media does not shoulder the responsibility of bringing the truth and goes to extremes or gets biased, it is better to get it regulated – Self or by legal provisions.
Freedom of the press is a group effort, and when individuals, organizations and governments come together to preserve it, everyone benefits.
If you want to have a brief idea about how to present these points in front of a group, do watch the video-