PRESS; THE 4TH PILLAR OF DEMOCRACY

INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA

The Indian media consists of several different types of communications of mass media: television, radio, cinema, newspapers, magazines, and Internet-based Websites/portals. Indian media was active since the late 18th century. The print media started in India as early as 1780. Radio broadcasting began in 1927. Indian media is among the oldest in the world. It dates back even before the reign of Ashoka[1]. Many of the media are controlled by large, for-profit corporations, which reap revenue from advertising, subscriptions, and sale of copyrighted material.

As of 31 March 2018, there were over 100,000 publications registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India. India has the second-largest newspaper market in the world, with daily newspapers reporting a combined circulation of over 240 million copies as of 2018. circular reference] India has over 1,600 satellite channels (more than 400 are news channels) and is the biggest newspaper market in the world—over 100 million copies sold each day.

GOVERNANCE OVER MEDIA

PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA

The Press Council of India acts as a mechanism for the press to regulate itself. It ensures that the Indian press is free and responsible. If the press is to function effectively as the watchdog of public interest, it must have a secure freedom of expression, unfettered and unhindered by any authority, organized bodies or individuals. It ensures that the press must, therefore, scrupulously adhere to accepted norms of journalistic ethics and maintain high standards of professional conduct.

Where the norms are breached and the freedom is defiled by unprofessional conduct, a way must exist to check and control it. But, control by the government or official authorities may prove destructive of this freedom. Therefore, the best way is to let the peers of the profession, assisted by a few discerning laymen to regulate it through a properly structured representative impartial machinery. Hence, the Press Council of India was established.[2]

The traditional print media, but also the television media, are largely family-owned and often partake in self-censorship, primarily due to political ties by the owner and the establishment. However, the new media are generally more professional and corporate-owned, though these, too, have been acquired or affiliated with established figures. At the same time, the Indian media, viewed as “feisty,” have also not reported on issues of the media itself.[3]

DEFENSE NEWS REPORTING IN INDIA

India has fought four wars since its independence from the British in 1947. It has long run insurgency problems in Jammu & Kashmir, the border state with Pakistan and also in the northeastern states, apart from internal security challenges. It has led to sustained audience interest in the issues related to national security and defense. Leading English and Hindi dailies cover defense issues in a major way, but niche defense specific reporting and publications have also taken root in the last 10 years.

CONSTITUTIONAL SUPERVISION OVER THE PRESS

The Constitution of India consists of a Preamble which constitutes India into Socialist, Secular, Sovereign, Democratic, Republic and guarantees every individual to secure justice whether social, economic, political. Preamble of the Indian Constitution provides every individual the Liberty of thought and expression.

For every Democracy the freedom of speech and expression is the most powerful and seraphic character the shows the strength of the Country and how sterling and unblended the structure of the Indian Constitution is. An individual must feel free and safe to speak up and express his or her thoughts without any fear neither internally nor of some external force, an individual must not fear anyone as long as the thinking is Constitutional and fair enough, and no one should fear to take part in the debates and show his or her address towards the country. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution provides every citizen the freedom of speech and expression and allows to have opinions through any medium such as writing, picture etc.

Under Article 19 the Constitution makers have provided the freedom of Press however, it has not been mentioned specifically because at the time of the making of the Constitution Dr. BR Ambedkar the chairman of the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly made it clear that there is no need to mention the Freedom of press specifically in Article 19 because the Citizens, press or any other organization are considered to be equivalent as far as the freedom of speech is concerned.

Therefore, Press has an equivalent position as that of any other citizens however, the Press is the fourth pillar of the democracy because its motive is to address the entire country and show the country the truth and cover all the sensitive topics of the Country with authenticity because it is impossible for the individual to be aware about everything happening in the country unless it is shown by the Press. Anything which the Government of India wants to convey to its citizens is covered and shown by Press. Freedom of Press is the soul of democracy as without this freedom democracy cannot be established because it shows each and every activity of the Government and if the government do something wrong the same will be exactly shown to everyone therefore, it allows the democracy to function freely and smoothly because it creates a feeling of apprehensiveness in the minds of wrong doer and not just the government but in the minds of everyone.

However, there are some instances where the Press is accused to be biased and inclined towards the Party in power or even the Government tried controlling the activities of Media. In 1975 when India went through the most dreadful and horrendous period of Emergency for 21 months the Indira Gandhi led Congress Government was accused of dominating the media either by money or by putting the editors and the senior officials of the press in fear of confinement in jail and the Press was even instructed to inform the government before publishing anything about the government itself. This period of 21 months is considered to be the days that devastated the integrity and sanctity of the democracy of the country.

Similarly, there are other instances where the freedom of speech and expression is curbed, Narendra Modi led BJP government on winning the Lok Sabha elections with massive vote margin defeating the rival the Indian National Congress (INC) was strongly criticized for curbing the Freedom of speech and even accused of controlling the media especially during the CAA & NRC protests happening all over the country. The protests happened because of the Bill passed by the either house of the Indian Parliament which happens to be a bill against the Indian Muslims because the Bill has excluded the religion Islam and taken all other 4 religions which are Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi and Buddhism for granting citizenship from three countries namely Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who have fled prosecution on religious grounds, during the protest the news channels while covering the reports mentioned the protestors with various tags such as Anti-Nationals, Jihadis, terrorists, Pakistan lovers etc. without having proper investigation and proof and showed such high degree of insensitivity  which was highly derogatory and unconstitutional and these news channels were not registered with a single case of complaint against them for such an insensitive act.

Media’s job is to show and make people aware about their country and world and not jumping into the conclusions with botched up investigation. Media being the Fourth Pillar of democracy has a special role to make the trust of the people indestructible towards the democracy and the basic idea of secularism enshrined in the Constitution of India by showing what is important and having the utmost significance even if it is against the government or in support of the government. The role of Media is to show what the government is doing whether bad or good without showing bias towards the ruling party or even towards the opposition.

When the Media shows how good or bad the government is doing it enhances more awareness in the people and creates an urge to vote in support or against the government in the elections and consequently creating a greater number of voters which will in turn contribute towards the smooth functioning of the country’s democracy by way of voting. The biggest strength in terms of democracy of the Indian sub-continent is that it is the second most populous country in the world with a population of around 1.353 billion as this figure of 1.353 billion is not just showing the number of citizens in the state but also showing the number of voters that can play a significant role in deciding India’s fortune in terms of elections & politics. However, unfortunately out of these 1.353 billion people residing in the country 380 million are living in dire poverty i.e., nearly 38% of India’s total population which is a matter of serious concern. According to the Brookings Report India has been able to bring a significant percentage of population out of poverty but many still live under it. As per the United Nations development programme Administrator Achim Steiner, India brought 271 million people out poverty in just 10-year time period from 2005-2006 and 2015-2016. If this percentage of poor population is provided with all the necessary resources and making them aware with immense concentration and hard work then this 38% will turn out to extremely significant for the politics of the country as well as for the growth of themselves. Moreover, there is not just a hurdle of poverty in India but also Illiteracy which is a major hardship for the country, in India there are about 287 million illiterate adults in India i.e., 37% of the world’s total population says a report by UNESCO. This 287 million not only showing the illiterates but also the ones who are not/ not able to contribute their basic share which other privileged are capable of contributing i.e., voting because of not having Voter Identity Card due to lack of awareness and poverty on the same hand. 

Illiteracy and poverty are the most pivotal aspects on which the fortune of any country can be decided because illiteracy is in direct relation with poverty i.e., the more is the illiteracy the more will be poverty and vice versa. There are many states and villages in India such as Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan where there are no electricity and people are living their lives beyond imagination and these people are incapable of raising their voices and they continue to live their lives as they are living. People with no connectivity of electricity cannot be expected to be as aware as the other people are because these people are not even having a Voter identity card so that they could vote, If the government increases its expenditure on education and lift all the illiterate people and convert them into literates then these people can bring a major change in country’s situation. Therefore, Media should show these hurdles which are being faced by the people since many years so that the government look into the matter and provide for some reforms to help the poor and underprivileged. If the Media shows all the wretchedness and deprivation faced by such people then a drastic change can be brought in the minds of the people who can raise their voices against such situations and stand against the government who is not doing or not willing to do anything for the betterment of people or even show their support towards a government who is willing to serve the people living in these extreme conditions. Therefore, the job of the Press is extremely important and responsible because it takes care of the responsibility of the citizens of the country. The Press is so powerful that it can make a government do what it is supposed to do and it can even make a government fall by way of making people aware to vote out the existing government if it is not working the way it is supposed to work or is working unconstitutionally.

CONCLUSION

India is a megadiverse country and one of the most fastest developing countries in the world but one thing if improved further can lead India to become one of the most stable and powerful democracies of the world which are poverty and illiteracy. If the Government of India works selflessly till the time every individual is taken out of the zone of poverty and make them literate then India will be a better place to live and will be ready to compete with the developed countries. Since India has a feature of multi-Party system of running the democracy the central government should firstly and most importantly work with the state governments in eradicating poverty by conducting a Census in the poverty-stricken areas and immediately come with the reforms for such areas with the help of the respective state governments.

Since independence there has been a history of conflicts between the Central Government and the State Governments because of the Parties in the respective positions. for example; if there is an Indian National Congress (INC) led government in the Centre and the state government is of some other political party say the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) then there have been some conflicts between the both as both differ in their political ideologies and considered to be the rivals. Therefore, if a country wants to eradicate poverty, then for some time all the political parties should understand that the ultimate goal of any political party is progress and advancement of the country and these rivalries in politics should stop.

There has to be a census in every state so that the number of citizens living in extreme poverty should be spotted and then specifically be identified so that these people should be treated differently in the way that they need something extra and should be preferred over the others. Poor in every state must be treated differently in order to get them with proper care and attention. In India one-third of the world’s mal-nourished lives here and despite knowing the exact numbers, the Government of India went continuously unsuccessful in controlling the figures and looking for the reforms. One of the major aspects in which the Indian Government has been lacking for years is reducing Social and economic inequality because it is the major cause of poverty. Socio-economic inequality can only be vanished in India by separating the underprivileged classes with the privileged ones.

However, there have been many governments that talked about equality and equal treatment but failed or did not reach better results because the country like India where there is a huge number of poor and mal-nourished population cannot achieve equality unless the underprivileged class is treated separately and specifically. It’s time that all the governments whether existing or previous has given separate and different treatments to all the poor and mal-nourished as compared to the privileged class. The country like India with diversified and distinct character as compared to other democracies needs to change and this change can only be brought when these poor and mal-nourished people are reformed and treated separately till the time every single person is brought out of these adverse conditions.

India needs to have separate resources for the poor and mal-nourished and the most important of which is Hospitals only for the poor and mal-nourished with India’s pre-eminent doctors keeping highest quality of sanitation in the fore most priority. Therefore, when all the poor and mal-nourished population is vanished then these people will in turn play a vital role in changing the country’s politics by being capable of voting and there will be a complete awareness that will change the entire pattern of politics which has been there since decades.

Therefore, India will be transformed only if the poverty and mal-nourishment are revolutionize and on the same hand election process can be improved if these people improves because contributions by them will be way more significant than the others who are privileged enough because these people will know how it feels to be living in the conditions which has its own dire consequence and their mind will compel them to vote and make contributions because they will understand that ultimately it is the government which is there to help and in return seeks for their votes only because it compels the government too  to respond when someone needs something to happen and this can only be achieved when the underprivileged class is converted into the privileged ones and come to vote along with all the others combined and take part in the government proceedings. Therefore, poverty is the key factor that leads to an increase in the illiteracy rate, unemployment rate, crime rate, etc. as they are in direct relation with each other and this issue need to be considered the soul problem of the country’s misfortune and this has to disappear at any cost.


REFERENCE

[1] http://www.nimc-india.com/history-mass-media-india.html

[2] http://presscouncil.nic.in/Content/29_3_History.aspx

[3] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/11/india-media

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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