As media influence grows beyond human reach, the fourth pillar of democracy
takes pride in being fair, impartial, and presenting the facts. However, as
recent events demonstrate, media is confronted with several challenges that
jeopardize its very own function, including the current test of nationalism in
the name of religion, hate crimes, and social evils; the media has played a
disastrous role, whether it is through the propagation of religious ideologies,
poor reporting in sensitive cases or investigative cowboy journalism that harmed
the media's credibility.
With time, the media's methods of disseminating its views, viewpoints, evidence,
and knowledge have expanded. Nowadays, knowledge is exchanged in a variety of
ways–including blogs, WhatsApp groups, YouTube channels, television channels,
newspapers, magazines, smartphone and desktop apps. India has grown into one of
the world's largest media markets.
There are various unethical media law practices in our Indian journalism
sector at present
Paid News: It is one of the most serious challenges to media. It is fundamental ethical
media to be truthful and fair since a vast number of people will eventually
see it and shape their opinions based on it
Possible Solution: Awareness should be there in viewers to identify which journalist propagates
one-sided view and does not identify the key issues at present. Thus paid
news can be identified easily by way of targeted advertisements or
sponsorships or targeting any specific community of the society. Hence
viewer’s education is a must to deal with this problem.
Media Trial: A media trial is a trial similar to a court of law in which the media house
declares an individual innocent or guilty before the court's final judgment
based on debates and discussions. Additionally, it results in the formation
of beliefs in the minds of individuals, thus impacting the case's
meritocracy. The media trials were visible in the Jessica Lal murder case
and the Sushant Singh Rajput drug case, among others.
Possible Solution: Self Regularisation of Media channels by way of ethical codes put forthwith
by The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) should not only be
limited to fines or reprimand but also strict legal actions against the TV
channel by suspending them for a temporary period or criminally charging
them in the court of law should be implemented. Repeated offenders of such
media channels should also face strict action by the Press Council of India;
although it does not have much power at present but more power should be
given to such kind of bodies.
Lack of Diversity in Reportage: There are 800 television channels in India, as well as 36,000 weekly
magazine publications and thousands of web portals. On the surface, there is
a dearth of variety in news coverage as a result of the 'tyranny of
For instance, many remote areas, such as the northeast, south India, and
tier-3 cities, receive little coverage in the national media. With such
impediments to journalistic freedom, it is important to consider the
strength of the fourth pillar of our democracy's base.
Possible Solution: Promoting independent journalism which is free from external political
influences by increasing their watch time and financially supporting them at
our end; for example, Schoop Whoop Unscripted, Quint and other regional
media houses have a long way to go in our future journalism industry.
A Handful Ownership of Media: Transparency in the inner workings of Indian media organisations is
diminishing resulting in the jeopardization of the media's reputation.
The majority of Indian media outlets are owned/ operated either by
politically connected individuals or businessman having their political
influence inclined towards one political party. For instance, Subhash
Chandra, a BJP Member of Parliament, owns the Zee Network, which includes
the channels Zee News, Wion, and others
Possible Solution: According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), it was seen that the
countries with functioning public media have greater press freedom and less
corruption. Thus, establishing a public funding mechanism for the media can
be a step towards enhancing media freedom.
Attack on Journalist: With the rising hate crimes and threat calls faced by a journalist in
today’s era becomes a very serious issue for the media industry to provide
fair reporting in any subject matter especially after the death of Gauri
Lankesh - news reporter; hence it becomes an impediment for the current lot
of journalist to provide fearless journalism.
Therefore in any large scale democracy; “dissent is the safety valve of
the democracy” as said by Justice Chandrachud; but still these ground
reporters are faced by NSA (National Security Act), UAPA (Unlawful Activity
Prevention Act) wherein they have to face serious legal issues. An example
being the Uttar Pradesh incident of ground reporting showing the
incompetence of Mid-day meal schemes of state government wherein the reality
was as shocking as reported by the media person.
Possible Solution: (Independent Judiciary + Independent Media + Citizen Awareness) are the key
to tackle such issue legally. Media is the fourth pillar of democracy which
needs to complement such issues raised by the public or judiciary at various
point of time impartially and not become just a mere spectator or puppet for
The media is critical to the country's governance and overall growth. The same
has been emphasized on several occasions in the past whether it be the Emergency
era of 1975 or today’s era of widespread protest of Farmer, CAA-NRC etc.
Numerous media outlets are doing admirable work by disseminating true and
reliable facts to the populace. A few months ago, the Supreme Court took
cognizance in response to the controversial Farm Bills passed by the Union
On the other hand, it has been repeatedly highlighted that many media outlets do
not prioritize verifying information firstly and instead prioritize delivering
it as quickly as possible for their ‘breaking news’ and commercial
advertisements in gaining TRP. Due to a variety of factors, including the
sponsorship of media outlets by large corporations and politicians, ethical
practices of media have been undermined in the past and at the present.
Additionally, it has been found that, while concentrating on critical issues
such as education, health and economy, these type of media channels concentrate
on trivial matters which are irrelevant to the context of political upliftment
of our society. Mechanisms such as ‘letters to the editor’ and columns by media
watchdogs maintain the media's transparency and also contribute to the press's
reputation marginally. Additionally, autonomous regulators that are not subject
to the government may be appointed to regulate/ track media houses.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Shubham Singh Rawat
Authentication No: AP112053231893-30-0421