It is being said that media is the fourth pillar of any democratic society. A free press is fundamental to a democratic society. A free press is the one that holds the responsibility of circulating news, information, ideas, opinions without any mitigation of the authorities and external control. Press is the platform that voices the opinion of the masses and acts as the watchdogs to the other three pillars, Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. Anything and everything that violates the press to do this is the violation of press freedom.
In India, press freedom is ensured through Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India. According to this article, the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. The law states that “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”. With this right, the right to publish anything and circulate one’s ideas, opinions, and views with complete freedom gets ensured. Attached to the right, there are a few areas where the right to freedom of speech and expression is not applicable. Article 19 (2) lays the following reasonable restrictions to Article 19 (1) (a) -
Sovereignty and Integrity of State
Security of the State
Friendly Relation with Foreign Countries
Decency and Morality
Contempt of Court
Incitement to an offense
A free press is the best way to ensure democracy. A democracy means a system that speaks for its people and is by the people. Such a system can only be ensured when a free press comes into existence. Press freedom ensures a vital check on the wrongdoing of any organization, group, the government, lawmakers, and the government. It is fundamental for a democratic society. India’s latest World Press Freedom Rank is 142 out of 180. Norway ranked first with the maximum press freedom. Hence there is a huge scope for improvement in the press freedom of India.
By: Ishika Aggarwal
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