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ARMY INSTITUTE OF LAW

Seminar 2019

Role of Media in Indian Society


Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for BA.LL.B. degree

Submitted by:

Tulip Josh A
1405(Sec-A)

1
TABLE OF CONTENTS

TOPIC PGNO.
1 INTRODUCTION 5
2 FREEDOM OF PRESS AND THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION 6
3 ROLE OF MEDIA IN A DEMOCRACY 8
4 MEDIA LAW AND ETHICS 11
5 INDIAN PRESS & ITS ACHIEVEMENTS 12
6 ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MEDIA 13
7 PRINCIPLES AND OBJECTIVES OF MODERN MEDIA 14
8 GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN STRENGTHENING MEDIA 15
9 CONCLUSION 16

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INDEX OF AUTHORITIES

LIST OF CASES

1. Indian Express Newspapers v/s Union of India AIR 1986 SC 515.


2. Sakal Papers Ltd. v/s Union of India, (1962) 3 S.C.R. 842.
3. Romesh Thapar v/s State of Madras, AIR 1950 SC 124.
4. Union of India v/s Association for Democratic Reforms, (2002) 5 SCC 294.
5. Indian Express Newspapers v/s Union of India, (1985) 1 SCC 641.
6. Sakal Papers v/s Union of India, AIR 1962 SC 305
7. Bennett Coleman and Co. v/s Union of India, AIR 1973 SC 106; (1972) 2 SCC 788.
8. Brij Bhusan v. State of Delhi, A.I.R. 1950 S.C. 129.
9. See, Superintendent, Central Prison Fategarh v. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, A.I.R. 1960
S.C. 633.
10. AIR 1954 Pat 254
11. Sidharth Vashist v. State (NCT of Delhi), A.I.R. 2010 S.C. 2352.
12. Tarun Tejpal v. U.T of Goa, (2015) 14 SCC 481
13. Mannu Sharma v. NCT of Delhi, (2002) 2 SCC 92
14. Santosh Kumar Singh v. State, (2010) 9 SCC 747.
15. Vikas Yadav v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2016) 9 SCC 541.
16. Rajesh Talwar v. CBI, (2014) 1 SCC 628
17. S.P.S Rathore v. CBI, (2017) 5 SCC 817
18. Himanshu Singh Sabarwal v. State of M. P, (2008) 3 SCC 602.

BOOKS AND LEXICONS

1. PANDEY, J. N., CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF INDIA, Central Law Agency, Allahabad,


(42nd ed. 2005).
2. RAI, KAILASH, THE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF INDIA,, Central Law Publications,
Allahabad, (7th ed. 2008)
3. DR DURGA DAS BASU, CASE BOOK ON INDIAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, , Kamal Law
House, Kolkata. (2nd ed. 2007)
4. DR. MADHABHUSI SRIDHAR, THE LAW OF EXPRESSION, AN ANALYTICAL
COMMENTARY ON LAW FOR MEDIA , (Asia Law House, Hyderabad,2007)TIWARI, DR.
MAHENDRA, FREEDOM OF PRESS IN INDIA: CONSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVES, (2006)
5. JUSTICE V, R. KRISHNA IYER, LAW FREEDOM AND CHANGE, (affiliated East West Press
Pvt.Ltd. 1975)
6. CLAY CALVERT ET AL, MASS MEDIA LAW, (20th Ed, 2017).

WEBSITES AND ARTICLES

1. www.scconline.com
2. www.manupatra.com
3. Media, OXFORDDICTIONARIES , https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/media.
4. Dr archan, Media Laws in India: Origin, Analysis and Relevance in Present Scenario,
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention (IJHSSI) 7.2 (2018)
5. Andrew Puddephatt ,The Importance of Self-Regulation of the Media in Upholding
Freedom of Expression. UNESCO,(2011).
6. Bindu singh, role of media in indian democracy, Christ University Law Journal, 2,
1(2013), 165-168 ISSN 2278-4322|http://dx.doi.org/10.12728/culj.2.9

3
7. Christian Nissen, Public Service Media in the Information Society, (2006). Media
Division, Directorate General of Human Rights,Council of Europe,
https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?doc
umentId=0900001680483b2f
8. SubirGhosh, Mass Media TODAY, Calcutta, p, 42.(1991)
9. M.R. Masani, The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy., A.G. Noorani,
Bombay, (Nachiketha Publications,1979) P. 69.
10. A.D. Gorwala, The Press as an Educative Factor, Freedom of the Press in India A.G.
Noorani, Bombay, P. 36.
11. Shefali Bedi ,Responsibility of media in a democracy, 7 INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
JOURNAL 235 (2009).
12. 1 S SivaKumar, Fourth Estate: A Shield or Sword of Human Rights?, 1, LANKA VIGIL
34 (2005).
13. E. Siapera (eds.) Radical Democracy and the Internet: Interrogating Theory and
Practice (Palgrave Macmillan publisher, London, 2010).
14. Melville B Nimmer ,Introduction-Is Freedom of the Press A Redundancy: What Does
it Add To Freedom of Speech?, 26, HASTINGS LAW JOURNAL 639 (1975).
15. Harry H. Wellington ,On Freedom of Expression, 88 THE YALE LAW JOURNAL 1105
(1979).
16. Dr archan, Media Laws in India: Origin, Analysis and Relevance in Present Scenario,
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention (IJHSSI) 7.2 (2018): 13-
15

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INTRODUCTION

"The press is the only tocsin of a nation. When it is completely silenced... all means of a general
effort are taken away." --Thomas Jefferson

The word ‘media’ is derived from the word medium, signifying mode or carrier. 1 Media is
intended to reach and address a large target group or audience. The word was first used in
respect of books and newspapers i.e. print media and with the advent of technology, media now
encompasses television, movies, radio and internet.2 In today’s world, media becomes as
essential as our daily needs. Media of today is playing an outstanding role in creating and
shaping of public opinion and strengthening of society.

From the days abode, media has remained an integral part of human civilization. From the days
of Vedas and Upanishads to edicts of kings and emperors like Chandragupta, Asoka to the
medieval Indian mass gatherings to the modern day’s audio video and print media, media has
always taken a pivotal role in shaping our society.3 During the days of freedom struggle
newspapers like Tilak’s Maratha, Mahatmaji’s young India acted as a platform to place the
demands of common Indian and to express solitude with freedom fighters.4 There was no press
regulation until the British East India Company started ruling a part of India after the Battle of
Plassey in 1757. The James Augustus Hickey in 1780 started The Bengal Gazette or Calcutta
General Advertiser, the first newspaper in India. It was seized in 1872 because of its outspoken
criticism of the Government. Like censorship, licensing was also a European institution to
control the press. It was introduced in Bengal in 1823 through Adam’s regulations. The East
India Company also issued instruction that no servant of the company should have any
connection with a newspaper. Licensing was, however, reintroduced in 1857 by Lord Canning
and was applied to all kinds of publications. In 1860 Indian Penal Code was passed as a general
law but laid down offences which any writer, editor or publisher must avoid - the offences of
defamation and obscenity.5
Various laws were proposed and implemented during the colonial period. Some of them are :
The Press and Registration of Books Act (25 of 1867), Vernacular Press Act 1878, Telegraph

1
Media, OXFORDDICTIONARIES , (Jan 30, 2019), https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/media.
2
CLAY CALVERT ET AL, MASS MEDIA LAW, 110, (20th Ed, 2017).
3
Dr archan, Media Laws in India: Origin, Analysis and Relevance in Present Scenario,
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention (IJHSSI) 7.2 (2018): 13-
15
4
Ibid.
5
Ibid

5
Act 1885, The Newspaper (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1905, Copyright Act, 1911,
Cinematograph Act 1918, Indian Press Act, 1910. Indian media in post independence era has
grown up phenomenally and today comprises of more than 50,000 newspapers, hundreds of
television and radio channels.6

FREEDOM OF PRESS AND THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION


The term “media freedom” is often used alongside, or as an alternative to, the terms “freedom
of speech” or “freedom of expression”, but the protection of media freedom takes a special
position due to the media’s role as a “public watchdog” as well as its function to disseminate
information and ideas, thus guaranteeing the right of the public to receive this information.7 At
a national level, freedom of expression is necessary for good government and, therefore, for
economic and social progress. At an individual level, freedom of expression is vital to the
development, dignity and fulfillment of every person.8
The Constitution of India in Article 19(1) (a) lays down that “All citizens shall have the right,
to freedom of speech & expression.” Unlike, the U.S. Constitution, the Indian Constitution
does not expressly provide freedom of press. However, it is now well settled that the words
“speech & expression” in Article 19(1) (a) includes freedom of press also.9 The freedom of
press means freedom from interference from authority which would have the effect of
interference with the content & circulation of newspapers.10 Freedom of Press is also
recognized by the American Constitution. Initially, the freedom of press was not expressly
provided in the American Constitution. The freedom of press was inserted only after the First
Amendment of the American Constitution. The Amendment prohibited the U.S. Congress from
making laws which infringes the freedom of press.
Unlike, the U.S., India & other states the subjects of U.K. does not possess any guaranteed
rights. The freedom of press is also well recognized in the U.K. The citizens have full liberty
to do anything up to the extent that it does not violate the rule of common law or statute law.
In Romesh Thapar v/s State of Madras,11 Patanjali Shastri, CJ, observed that “Freedom of
speech & of the press lay at the foundation of all democratic organization, for without free
political discussion no public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the process

6
PANDEY, J. N., CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF INDIA, Central Law Agency, Allahabad, (42nd ed. 2005).
7
Andrew Puddephatt ,The Importance of Self-Regulation of the Media in Upholding Freedom of Expression.
UNESCO,(2011).
8
RAI, KAILASH, THE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF INDIA,, Central Law Publications, Allahabad, (7th ed. 2008)
9
Indian Express Newspapers v/s Union of India AIR 1986 SC 515.
10
Sakal Papers Ltd. v/s Union of India, (1962) 3 S.C.R. 842.
11
AIR 1950 SC 124.

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of popular government, is possible.” In this case, entry and circulation of the English journal
“Cross Road”, printed and published in Bombay, was banned by the Government of Madras.
The same was held to be violative of the freedom of speech and expression.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in Union of India v/s Association for Democratic
Reforms12 , “One-sided information, disinformation, misinformation and non information, all
equally create an uninformed citizenry which makes democracy a farce. Freedom of speech
and expression includes right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold
opinions”. In Indian Express Newspapers v/s Union of India13 it has been held that the press
plays a very significant role in the democratic machinery. The courts have duty to uphold the
freedom of press and invalidate all laws and administrative actions that abridge that freedom.
Freedom of press has three essential elements. They are:
1. freedom of access to all sources of information,
2. Freedom of publication, and
3. Freedom of circulation.
There are many instances when the freedom of press has been suppressed by the legislature. In
Sakal Papers v/s Union of India,14 the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960, which
fixed the number of pages and size which a newspaper could publish at a price was held to be
violative of freedom of press and not a reasonable restriction under the Article 19(2). Similarly,
in Bennett Coleman and Co. v/s Union of India,15 the validity of the Newsprint Control Order,
which fixed the maximum number of pages, was struck down by the Court holding it to be
violative of provision of Article 19(1)(a) and not to be reasonable restriction under Article
19(2). The Court also rejected the plea of the Government that it would help small newspapers
to grow.
But, the freedom of press is not absolute in nature. It is subject to certain restrictions which are
mentioned in Article 19(2) of the Constitution.16 The following are the grounds of restrictions
laid down in Article 19(2) :-
1) Sovereignty & Integrity of India
2) Security of the State
3) Friendly relations with Foreign States
4) Public Order

12
(2002) 5 SCC 294.
13
(1985) 1 SCC 641.
14
AIR 1962 SC 305
15
AIR 1973 SC 106; (1972) 2 SCC 788.
16
Brij Bhusan v. State of Delhi, A.I.R. 1950 S.C. 129.

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5) Decency or Morality
6) Contempt of Court
The grounds of ‘Public Order’17 & ‘Friendly relations with Foreign States’ was added by the
Constitution (First Amendment) Act,1951. While the ground of ‘Sovereignty & Integrity of
India’ was added by the Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963. Section 124A of the
Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of sedition. It lays down that,” Whoever by words,
either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or
attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards,
the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to
which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine
may be added, or with fine”. But Explanation 3 says “Comments expressing disapprobation of
the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite
hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section”. In Devi Saran
v/s State18, the Court has held that Section 124A imposes reasonable restriction on the interest
of public order & therefore it is protected under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution.
Freedom of the press is the freedom of communication & expression through vehicles including
various electronic media & published materials. While such freedom mostly implies the
absence of interference from an overreaching state, its preservation may be sought through
constitutional or other protection.19

ROLE OF MEDIA IN A DEMOCRACY


Media is the sword arm of democracyToday when politicians are taking full advantage of their
positions, an evil nexus of mafia and crime syndicate is making the life of the common man
miserable, taxpayer’s money is siphoned out for the personal gain of the influential and
ordinary people are a mere spectator-media has a greater responsibility As the fourth pillar of
democracy along with judiciary, executive and legislature, media of today has an all-embracing
role to act against the injustice, oppression, misdeeds and partiality of our society.20

Media is the means of communication that reaches or influences people widely, has a
significant place in the statecraft machinery especially in the age of information revolution. It

17
See, Superintendent, Central Prison Fategarh v. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, A.I.R. 1960 S.C. 633.
18
AIR 1954 Pat 254
19
DR DURGA DAS BASU, CASE BOOK ON INDIAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, (2nd ed, 2007), Kamal Law House,
Kolkata.
20
Bindu singh, Role Of Media In Indian Democracy, Christ University Law Journal, 2, 1(2013), 165-168 ISSN
2278-4322|http://dx.doi.org/10.12728/culj.2.9

8
is the source of information for a society regarding any issue be it local, regional or global,
people rely and even trust on what is presented to them by media.

Also, media act as an influential and instrumental tool with regards to building confidence or
promoting mistrust among people on issues related to national security. Their role is not solely
confined to the reproduction of facts. The mass media also communicates political, social,
ethical, cultural and other ideas, and thereby makes an important contribution to the formation
of public opinion.
Technology has endowed the electronic media with three major attributes -
i) Instantaneity: Instantaneity has provided it with a ringside view in real time,
ii) Spontaneity: Spontaneity has allowed it cover events as they unfold
iii) Locality: Locality has provided it with the power to bring the farthest corner of the globe
into a household.21
This has also enhanced the reach and, therefore, the hold of the electronic media over the
viewers' minds. It has, however, also given rise to a multiplicity of players in this field, with
consequential concerns of accountability, responsibility and public good.
Media law is a branch of law that consists of a system of legal norms that regulate the activities
of the mass media. It examines the limits within which media outlets and journalists can
operate. Some regulations apply only to specific types of media. For example, there are
broadcasting laws that apply only to the activities of broadcast media. More general legal
provisions are to be respected by all media.22
The right to freedom of expression, though it belong to every individual, institution and
organization, becomes imperatively necessary in the media world which serves as the best
communicator of information and the best instrument in expression. Exercise of right of
freedom of expression is the professional duty and charter of work of media whether it is print
media or electronic media23. When freedom of expression is usually talked of, it is generally
understood in the context of the freedom of the media and particularly the print media, though
it may be pointed out that the freedom of expression stands, both with regard to its rights and
obligations, on the same footing as that of an individual or institution.24

21
Christian Nissen, Public Service Media in the Information Society, (2006). Media Division, Directorate
General of Human Rights,Council of Europe,
https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=0900001680483b
2f
22
Aiyer Venkat, Mass Media Laws and Regulations in India, Bahri Sons (India Research Press, 2000), Delhi
23
Prasad Kiran , Media Laws in India, (Kluwer Law International, 2000)
24
Dr. Madhabhusi Sridhar, The Law of Expression, An Analytical Commentary on Law for Media 3, 22, (Asia
Law House, Hyderabad,2007)

9
Media has played a significant role in establishing democracy throughout the world. Since the
18th century, the media has been instrumental in reaching the masses and equipping them with
knowledge, especially during the American Independence movement and French Revolution.
Media became a source of information for the citizens of colonial India, as they became aware
of the arbitrariness of the British colonial rule. Thus, gave a newfound force to India’s
Independence movement, as millions of Indians joined the leaders in their fight against the
British imperialism. The role of media in Indian democracy has undergone massive changes,
from the days of press censorship during Emergency in 1975 to being influential in the 2014
Lok Sabha elections.The changing dynamics of Indian politics has increased people’s
expectation from media as in this phase of transition, it is pretty easy to believe in a particular
belief.25
The older generation of the country is still fixated on tradition and culture, while the present-
day youth is more interested in the fast-moving world of technology and social media. Thus, it
becomes important for media to ensure that the information that they are broadcasting should
not be a biased or tampered in a way to boost the channels TRP.26
Justice Krishna Iyer in his article “free press in a hungry Republic “State:

“The philosophical basis for the freedom of publication and circulation is the social purpose of
supplying unadulterated information without tendentious presentation, readily and at the right
time. And Constitutional rights stem from political Philosophy.”27

The newspaper is an eyes for a citizen in the Democracy.28 Newspapers have been described
as first rough drafts of history. Speaking about the importance of a free press in democracy, a
noted writer and politician Mr. M.R. Masani, (Former President of Swatantra Party) says,

“There are various institutions in a free society, which we cherish as essential preconditions to
the maintenance of freedom. The first of these is the government, because without the
government there is anarchy in which life is nasty, brutish and short. We sometimes forget this,
but government comes first. Next comes the opposition, because without an effective
functioning opposition.29

25
Aiyer Venkat, Mass Media Laws and Regulations in India, BAHRI SONS (India Research Press, 2000), Delhi
26
TIWARI, DR. MAHENDRA, FREEDOM OF PRESS IN INDIA: CONSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVES, (2006)
27
JUSTICE V, R. KRISHNA IYER, LAW FREEDOM AND CHANGE, (affiliated East West Press Pvt.Ltd. 1975) p. 68
28
SubirGhosh, Mass Media TODAY, Calcutta, p, 42.(1991)
29
M.R. Masani, The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy., A.G. Noorani, Bombay, (Nachiketha
Publications,1979) P. 69.

10
MEDIA LAW AND ETHICS
Media plays a vital role in informing people about their surroundings, the truth and the
situations they reside in.
Media law is not a term for a uniform and integrated body of law like the law of contract or the
law of crimes. It is a mix of a variety of laws and ethics that are considered most important for
a working journalist and media industry. When the term “media law” is used, the focus is on
the law itself. It examines the limits within which the media organizations and journalists
operate. Hence this type of emphasis diverts the focus on terms like freedom of speech,
defamation, confidentiality, privacy, censorship, contempt and freedom and access to
information
Media Ethics has been defined as “Media ethics job role is to deal with the specific ethical
principles and standards of media.”
An investigation report by Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), an international journalism
ethics gatekeeper, titled “Untold Stories: How Corruption and Conflict of Interest stalks the
Newsroom” studied the decay in media professionalism in 20 countries including India and
published a report. It finds out some area where we need to concentrate on, to save this once
noble job from falling into further disgrace. Hence, in present scenario, the ethical behavior of
media is highly recommended.30
One of the path breaking study paid news has been conducted by Press Council of India
committee in 2010, headed by Pranjoy Guha Thakrtha and K Srinivas Reddy which dealt with
problems a democratic country has to face, when the media is mired in corruption.31
The well acclaimed New York Times Ethical Handbook which was considered by many across
the globe and media spectrum, clearly list out the parameters for the media staff to move around
and space available for them to work in. It says “Journalist can collect information for its reader
but Staff members may stay away from misusing it, don’t provide wrong information that will
violate our commitment to the readers and their fundamental rights as well”.32
Also, different forms of media are subject to different regulations. Nevertheless, there are
universal rules that need to be respected by all journalists when practicing their profession.
Only when journalists adhere to the generally accepted legal and ethical principles of their
profession can they fulfill their main function in a democratic society: serving the public

30
Shefali Bedi ,Responsibility of media in a democracy, 7 INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL 235 (2009).
31
S SivaKumar, Fourth Estate: A Shield or Sword of Human Rights?, 1, LANKA VIGIL 34 (2005).
32
E. Siapera (eds.) Radical Democracy and the Internet: Interrogating Theory and Practice (Palgrave
Macmillan publisher, London, 2010).

11
interest.33 Never before has mass communication been so pervasive in our everyday life.
Thanks to social media, anyone with internet access can take on the role of a publisher,
potentially spreading their message to an audience of millions with just the click of a mouse.
That enormous potential comes at a high cost: today it is easier than ever to spread lies about
people and destroy their reputation in just a few minutes. For this reason, it is vital not only for
journalists but also for the general public to have a basic knowledge of media law and ethics,
in order to act responsibly and ethically when disseminating content to a mass audience.34 The
foundations of the principles of media law can be found in the constitutions of many countries,
specific national legislation, as well as international conventions and acts dealing with this
subject.35
INDIAN PRESS & ITS ACHIEVEMENTS
As discussed earlier, press is regarded as one of the pillars of a democracy as it acts as a
watchdog of the three organs of democracy. Though, freedom of speech & expression
(including of press) is enjoyed by the citizens but there are many instances where the press has
to face difficulties as well. In the recent past, in the Tehelka Case,36 the portal Tehelka.com
was forced to shut down completely & its journalists were continuously harassed as the
journalists exposed the ‘scam’ in the defence ministry involving Ex-Defence Personnel &
Central Government Ministers. There are many instances where journalists were threatened &
even assaulted at times.

Despite of these difficulties the press has achieved a lot of success in the recent past. In Jessica
Lal’s case,37 Manu Sharma, son of a Haryana minister, killed Jessica on April 29, 1999,
because she refused to serve him liquor in the restaurant where she was working. The case was
closed and all the accused were freed due to lack of evidences, but finally, the case was
reopened after media and public outcry, which led to Sharma’s conviction. In Priyadarshini
Mattoo’s Case38, Santosh Kumar, son of an IPS officer raped and killed his colleague,
Priyadarshini Mattoo, a law student in 1996, after she refused his proposal. Ailing and aged
father of Priyadarshini got judgment in October 2006, after a long run trial. The Delhi High
Court rebuked lower courts and authority under investigation for acquittal of accused. The

33
Sidharth Vashist v. State (NCT of Delhi), A.I.R. 2010 S.C. 2352.
34
Melville B Nimmer ,Introduction-Is Freedom of the Press A Redundancy: What Does it Add To Freedom of
Speech?, 26, HASTINGS LAW JOURNAL 639 (1975).
35
Harry H. Wellington ,On Freedom of Expression, 88 THE YALE LAW JOURNAL 1105 (1979).
36
Tarun Tejpal v. U.T of Goa, (2015) 14 SCC 481
37
Mannu Sharma v. NCT odf Delhi, (2002) 2 SCC 92
38
Santosh Kumar Singh v. State, (2010) 9 SCC 747.

12
media played a significant role in this case as well. Similary,in Nitish Katara’s cas39e the media
played an important role. In Aarushi Talwar’s murder case40, media played an important part
by highlighting the loopholes in the case owing to which the police was forced to take some
action. In Ruchika’s Case,41 Ruchika Girhotra, a 14-year-old tennis player, was molested by
then Haryana police IG S.P.S. Rathore in Panchkula in 1990.Three years later, Ruchika killed
herself, which her friend and case witness Aradhana attributes to the harassment of Ruchika
and her family by those in power. Nineteen years later, Rathore walks away with six months
of rigorous imprisonment and a 1000-rupee fine, reportedly due to his old age and the
“prolonged trial”. This led to public outrage & media played a significant role in it. Later on
the Government of India asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to re-investigate the case &
the police medals awarded to S.P.S. Rathore was also stripped. A case of Abetment of Suicide
under Section 306 of the IPC was also filed against S.P.S.Rathore. In 2005 news channel Aaj-
Tak carried out Operation Duryodhana which revealed 11 MP’s of the Lok Sakha accepting
cash for asking question in the Lok Sabha. Later on an Investigation Committee was set up
headed by Senior Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal. All the 11 MP’s were found guilty &
were sacked from the Lok Sabha.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MEDIA
Though, the press has played significant roles for public welfare but at times it act
irresponsibly. For instance the electronic media hyped the Abhi-Ash wedding in such a way
that other important news were neglected. In Prof. Sabharwal’s case42, when Prof. Sabharwal
was killed by ABVP activists, there were a number of news channels & newspaper
correspondent were present & they had evidence of the murder but the media acted
irresponsibly & the police called it an ‘Open & Shut Case’. When Mumbai was under terror
threat in 26/11 the media acted irresponsibly by telecasting live the long sisty hour Operation
Black Tornedo by the security forces to combat the attack at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel &
Nariman House. It included live feed of air dropping NSG Commandoes on the rooftop of
Nariman House. At times news channel covers news such as ‘Bollywood Gossips’ & ‘Page 3’
etc which has reduced them to a mere ‘Entertainment Channel’. There are many important
issues which should be covered by the media but unfortunately it does not. In April 2009, Union
Home Minister P.Chidambaram was addressing the media at a press conference a journalist

39
Vikas Yadav v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2016) 9 SCC 541.
40
Rajesh Talwar v. CBI, (2014) 1 SCC 628
41
S.P.S Rathore v. CBI, (2017) 5 SCC 817
42
Himanshu Singh Sabarwal v. State of M. P, (2008) 3 SCC 602.

13
threw show at the minister on protest of acquittal of a Congress leader accused of leading Anti-
Sikh riots in 1984. The journalist named Jarnal Singh was a reporter of Dainik Jagran, a local
newspaper. Later on he apologized to the Union Home minister for his act. This was one of the
most condemnable act which showed the ugly side of the press.
The credibility of Indian media is fast eroding, as the country’s media has been criticized time
and again by the world audience for its sensationalism. The way Indian media manipulates the
news and portrays the information in a twisted manner has seen the country drop three places
in the recent World Press Freedom Index.
There have been instances such as Sridevi’s death recently, where journalist became a judge
by laying false accusations and created a controversy surrounding the late actor’s death.
Certainly, due to growing influence of political parties, there has been decrease in the quality
of news reaching the audience, as media had served as a platform for parties to promote their
government’s work.
PRINCIPLES AND OBJECTIVES OF MODERN MEDIA
It is, necessary to ensure that the media is prompt, responsible, sensitive, accurate and objective
in its presentation of news. In the context of maintenance of public order, the role of the media
could go a long way in preventing rumour mongering and incorrect or mischievous coverage
by a small section of the media which could be supportive of partisan elements.
The central issue is- how to have an effective interface with the media. Given the technological
environment in which the media functions today, the fact that there is no monopoly over
sources of information and the need to have an informed public, control measures are neither
feasible nor desirable. It is incumbent on the administration to continuously provide the media
with immediate, accurate and reliable information so that, the public is not left with gaps in
their information which might be filled by sensational and biased news reporting. This requires
capability building at various levels of the administrative machinery so as to provide a
transparent and responsive administration.
To ensure that government officials interact with the media in a professional manner, media
management modules should be integrated in various training programmes. Media persons may
also be associated with such training modules. Emphasis on local language media would
obviously be useful in hierarchical structures within the government, interaction with the media
is generally regulated to avoid confusion and contradictions. To overcome such hindrances,

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officials should be designated at appropriate levels to interact with the media and their
accessibility should be ensured.43
Media should ensure objective presentation of news and fair and unbiased comment, to
promote the advancement of education and culture. The Media must make continuous attempts
at Raising and maintain high standards of decency and decorum in all programmes.Providing
programmes for the young which, by variety and content, which will inculcate the principles
of good citizenship should be a concern for the modern media.It should aim at Promoting
communal harmony, religious tolerance and international understanding, Treating
controversial public issues in an impartial and dispassionate manner and Respecting human
rights and dignity.

GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN STRENGTHENING MEDIA


The Indian government’s stance on the role media has been hotly debated, ever since our
constitution makers started framing the Indian Constitution. Dr Ambedkar, Chairman of the
Drafting Committee felt there was no need to have separate provision for the free press, instead
he argued that “the press is merely another way of stating an individual or a citizen”, thus, right
to press became a part of Right to freedom of speech and expression under.44In the recent World
Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Border, India was ranked 136 out the
180 countries for the level of freedom available to the journalist in the country. 45 The drop in
India’s ranking has been associated with the rising ‘Hindu Nationalists’ trying to dismiss “anti-
national” manifestation thoughts from the national media, reflects as a negative role of media
in the democracy.46
In a diverse country like India, it is difficult to have detailed legislation on the role of media in
the democracy, as was pointed out by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.News Broadcasters Association
(NBA) is a government body that has laid down the guidelines to be followed by media houses,
to disseminate the information across the audience. The guidelines focus on ensuring credible
news reaches out to the public with impartiality and objectivity

43
A.D. Gorwala, The Press as an Educative Factor, Freedom of the Press in India A.G. Noorani, Bombay, P.
36.
44
Clay Calvert et al, Mass Media Law, 110, (20th Ed, 2017).
45
Dr archan, Media Laws in India: Origin, Analysis and Relevance in Present Scenario,
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention (IJHSSI) 7.2 (2018): 13-
15
46
Ibid.

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CONCLUSION
In words of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, "The role of journalism should be
service. The Press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges the
whole countryside and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy."47
It has been sixty years since India became Republic & commencement of the Constitution there
is been a lot of ups & down in our democracy & the press also has come across age.
The media work as a watchdog of the government and carry every report of the actions of
administration thereby keeping the people informed about the day to day happenings that are
taking place around them. The media has helped to make the democratic society by giving
emphasis on issues that at one point of time would have been considered strictly private such
as child birth, child care, domestic violence, and sexual harassment.In a democratic country
like India the media has duties as, to equip the citizen with unbiased information, to play vital
role in broadening the thinking of citizens, by empowering them with knowledge, to fairly
criticize any action which is against the spirit of justice or essence of democracy, to point out
the concept practices and play a crucial role in initiating the proper procedure against the people
who are accused of any antisocial activities, regardless of any political connection, and to foster
the spirit of unity and brotherhood among the people, and install faith in democracy and justice.
As being a subject of the largest democracy of the world we should remember the words of our
former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, “Freedom of Press is an Article of Faith with us,
sanctified by our Constitution, validated by four decades of freedom and indispensable to our
future as a Nation.” 48

Thus, we can conclude that the time has come for the press of largest democracy of the world
to work with hand-in-hand with judiciary for the welfare of its subjects. The day is not far away
when there will be no eclipse of injustice & the sun of justice will shine brightly forever.

47
JUSTICE V, R. KRISHNA IYER, LAW FREEDOM AND CHANGE, (affiliated East West Press Pvt.Ltd. 1975) p. 68
48
Ibid.

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