Freedom of Press In India

Freedom of Press is when one is free to express their thoughts and opinions through the medium of press. Press is a set of news industries which deliver information about what’s happening in the world in the from of news to the general or targeted public. In India there has not been any specific legislation about the freedom of press, it has been enshrines under the article 19(1)(a) in the Indian Constitution which is the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. It is a way where the government is promoting the public to know what the elected representatives are doing for the well being of the society, anyway it is meant to serve a wider purpose than that. The freedom of press also indirectly promotes the right to information. The press in general is a very strong way to deliver the news, as it plays a major role in shaping the society, hence the freedom of press is of vital importance. Therefore, the 16th of November is celebrated as the National Press Day as symbol of free and responsible press in India

The freedom of press in India has evolved with a series of cases, it took a lot of efforts to achieve the current state of freedom. In the cases of Brij bhushan V. State of Delhi and Romesh Thappar V. State of Madras, it has been stated that the Freedom of Speech and Expression does give the freedom of press ,however there have been reasonable restrictions put on this which has been clearly stated in the article 19(2) , which states that freedom of speech and expression can be invoked if the information is affecting the sovereignty and integrity of the State, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court, defamation, incitement to an offence. Sedition is also considered a crime, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. When information is published which brings hatred towards the government, inciting them to go against the present government due to disaffection towards it is called sedition. Sedition has been given under S.124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, it is considered as one of the reasonable restrictions. However there have been debates and still goin on that sedition as a crime is violating the fundamental right of Freedom to speech and expression. In the Indian express newspaper V. Union Of India case they have given further information on what freedom of press can include, it has been states that the combination of freedom of publication, circulation, and access to all sorts of information is the freedom of press.

Freedom of press acts as a perfect mediator between the government and its people. Press is considered to be the watchdog of the executive judiciary and legislature, it gives information about all the daily events happening in all the three organs, to the general public. Currently the freedom if press is in operation in India, however there are some difficulties it has faced in certain situations and cases there has been a suppression of this right. Despite of all the difficulties it is has been proved to be successful in the present, as it is giving information about the Covid-19 situation, and what is happening all over the world. Personally I feel that in the recent times this right is being misused, nowadays the press is involving into people’s personal matters, and there has been a total commercialization of the media, they are operating only to increase the so called TRP rates. They are operating solely for the purpose for profit making, and not genuinely to give the right information to it’s public. It is the responsibility of the media, to not make the public lose hopes on it, and to operate efficiently and effectively. There have been cases where the media has given final verdicts, and has framed someone as a murderer even before the court heard the matter, does anyone think that there was being defamation to the person who was framed as a murder, and what if he has been decided innocent in the court. Therefore, the media has to look into the after effects of their news, and must operate safely without affecting anyone, and they should self monitor their own actions.

Once Mahatma Gandhi said that “The sole aim of journalism should be service. The newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges whole country sides and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy“. Press plays a very important role in the nation, and only if they fulfill their duties in the right way, without exploiting the right, it will lead to the development of the nation. Press is the most powerful weapon in the nation, which can bring change in the society, hence it should be in good hands, and it’s importance and trust which the public kept on it must not be deteriorated. The right information has to be informed to the public in the right way.

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