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Media: The Foremost Pillar Of Vibrant Democracy

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 ways.

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 information.

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, transparency, democracy.

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 interest, etc.

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.

Judicial Procurement
  • 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 SCR(2) 287
    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 press.

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  � Mahatma Gandhi

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