Freedom of the Press
Freedom of the press is very important in a democratic set up. It speaks about the true democracy. In the Indian democratic system, the people have the fundamental rights for expressing their ideas and make the comments or criticism within constitutional frame-work. It is a very health traditional in democracy of giving fundamental freedom to the press. Freedom of the press lies at the foundation of all democratic organisations. A healthy democracy thrives on four pillars—executive, judiciary, legislature and the free press. If any crude attempt is ever made to weaken any of these pillars, the democratic system of the country is bound to collapse. None can underestimate the role played by the newspapers in India in bringing the freedom struggle to a successful end. The press, as a neutral agency of high standing, with its chequered history that has unfolded ups and downs during freedom struggle and even after 1947, it took pains to draw a progressive and laudable nation with its free and unbiased views. It had the boldness to expose where the policies and the decisions went wrong. It makes loud noise upon the people irrespective of their position when they are found corrupt. All the same, it has the fairness of bringing out the good work and achievement by bringing into limelight and decorating the good deeds with the praises. It is a real beauty and virtual effect of a free press which renders a service to the people by presenting the views in the most accurate way without twisting the story and without favoring any one.
Freedom of the press helps in giving strength to democracy. Free political discussions through newspapers are essential for the proper functioning of the process of popular government.
In the light of the recent stand-off between Tamil Nadu legislature and The Hindu newspaper, a vast readership spread all-over the country admitted that the newspaper, well-known for accuracy and objectivity in news coverage criticised the politicians very fairly against their spots when they were really alleged to be tainted by the scandals. It was the victory of The Hindu newspaper because of its popularity in giving the news freely and accurately. The fact that millions of the youth across the country rely upon this paper with its characteristic validity, shows that this newspaper is really enjoying the values of freedom of the press. The very reason is its fairness, accuracy and impartiality. It is perfectly discharging its responsibilities by highlighting the odds by using its fundamental right of freedom. Despite this, Tamilnadu Government managed to lodge the high profile journalists in jail for 15 days during 2004 which is really a bad example and blow to the freedom of the press.
Media in India reflects the conscience of the powerful public opinion. Newspaper has become an integral part of life and people start life with newspaper. Newspaper is a most accepted system of acquiring information of day-to-day within the country and outside. People trust the newspaper which always gives news accurately and openly even in the odd circumstances.
The newspaper is a mirror of the times and it always conveys about the political sense and economic progress of the nation for which people are generally keen to know in a correct manner. The newspaper publishes bright side of the life and at the same time it, does not hesitate to show the ugly face of society. We feel a good sense out of different type of stories published in newspapers which are mostly appreciation for achievement and warning for remedial measure for wrong work. The newspapers are doing great duty to the public through print media for which they are free. The freedom of the press in India has won the trust of the people by expressing true position of events. It is also pinpointing the authorities working for and against the public interest which is actually required in a democracy.
In the light of a new look of society which is changing very fast at all the fronts the role of newspaper has been morale booster for connecting the basic requirements like eradication of poverty and social inequality, education, employment, child marriage, child labour, dowry, sex crime, insecurity to women, criminalization of politics, corruption, terrorism, anti national activities, internal insecurity of common masses, law and order problem and so on. A free press only can bat with the evils in the society by educating the public opinion through its news comprising facts and figures which will facilitate the society and the activists.
The press has always played a wonderful role with its freedom in a healthy democracy in India. If its privilege of freedom is ever broken to weaken its jurisdiction of duty, it adversely affects the structure of democracy. Most of the journalists recall with trepidation the black days when Internal Emergency was clamped down on this country by Indira Gandhi enforcing silence upon against the regime of Indira Gandhi during the emergency. It was an ugly time when there was abnormality in the country. There was absolutely the curtailment of fundamental freedom to the press guaranteed by the constitution. The democratic system was set aside during emergency. Anybody who dared to oppose Indira Gandhi was sent behind bars. Several newspapers came up with blank editorial pages due to ill effects of emergency. All the political activities which were carried out during the emergency were banned and no newspaper was allowed to disclose. The worst victim of this abridgment of fundamental rights was the great cartoon weekly which had been earning its name for political cartoons right from the time of India’s independence. It was really a brutal behaviour with the journalists by confining their freedom in a cage, which was a violation and breach of privilege guaranteed to them by the Constitution.
If we narrate the real meaning of democracy, it is of the people, by the people and for the people. All the people have the right to freedom. The press has also been given privilege of freedom and for publishing the news freely and in all respect accurately in the public interest which must be regarded in all respects in a democracy.