May 3: World Press Freedom Day – “Media Freedom for a Better Future”

World Press Freedom Day is annually observed on May 3 to inform the international community that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights. This day reminds people that many journalists brave death or face jail to bring daily news to the public.

World Press Freedom Day gives people the chance to pay tribute to media professionals who risked or lost their lives in the line of duty. Many communities, organizations and individuals take part in this day through various events such as art exhibitions, dinners featuring keynote speakers, and awards nights to honor those who risked their lives to bring news to the world.

The right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and is commonly subject to limitations based on the speech implications of the harm principle.

The Constitution of India provides the right to freedom, given in articles 19, 20, 21 and 22, with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the constitution. The right to freedom in Article 19 guarantees the Freedom of speech and expression.

The media is free to criticize and carry out own scientific and investigative journalism without political or financial pressures. At the same time, the media has the right to inform the public and bring to light all aberrations at national and international level to enable the government to deal with them effectively.

Being associated with the media, what I feel is, there should be right of freedom to express but without making any personal attack. But it has been seen that the global press freedom has fallen to its lowest level and attacks and counter-attacks are seen on the front pages.
Yes, definitely there might be some grievances or facts concealed but the same can be published later on as a rejoinder for which the media has to cooperate instead of taking a stand on the story already published.

The silence does not solve any purpose rather kills democracy but a free press talks and put wiser its readers to make an opinion on the news published.

The recent campaign during the Lok Sabha elections is a warning signal as to how media is swaying the fortunes. Utilizing a constitutional provision for its gain, media has come to serve as a faithful instrument in the hands of a small coterie of rich-men club and pushing the nation to an absolute state power structure to the detriment of people’s power. On the other hand, since the day media has adopted a commercial profile, it has forfeited the right to enjoy constitutional freedom and cannot claim extra protection for its activities than a shopkeeper enjoys in the present dispensation.

Previously, media stood accused of paid-news phenomenon during elections in 2004 and 2009. This time the media has been changed for working on full time contract to avoid charges of paid-news. Hardly one could see a single channel or paper who is functioning as a news courier.

With this attitude of media, it has raised a number of questions on the character of the Indian media. It has come in sharp focus as a tool in the hands of corporate capital in this electoral campaign; it has turned itself into a privileged tool deliberately to fool consciousness of the masses. It needs to be seriously taken note of.

Frankly speaking and to be honest, India is a different cup of tea. The country’s constitution and the democratic system guarantee free functioning of both the judiciary and the media. The readers may or may not believe, no government wants strong media or judiciary. It would be a blunder on the part of the government to curtail the freedom enjoyed by the press. Despite charged with paid news, the media is doing yeoman’s service to the nation by reporting, analyzing, and suggesting ways and means to meet the challenges facing the nation. Thus, freedom of press/media was regarded as something unchallengeable, but it can no longer claim it with its changed profile.

Contact: harishmongadido@gmail.com 9815087107
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