Right to Expression and Freedom of Speech has appeared to be as a pre requisite in democracy. The Indian Constitution assures this right under Article 19(1) (a) to the citizens of India. Exchanging of ideas and debate are essentially required for the good governance of a country. This is where media’s role comes into limelight. Media has a special role to play as the preserver of democracy. It acts as a bridge which helps us in connecting with the current scenarios in the world and creating a public opinion for realizing the aim of social and economic justice, it has become an important part of our lives.
However, with all these developments media along with its powers have also brought reasons for concern on various platforms. There are issues regarding the biased media, personal agenda and increased capitalist tendency of media. Such issues concerning quality of media are of great outcome to a country like India where media has a greater role to play rather than just providing information and spreading awareness. Therefore, the Law Commission of India has irregularly discussed the issues related to the media laws and also have given recommendations on the same in its dialogue paper. The democratic India has observed the emergence of media as the fourth important body after legislature, executive and judiciary. Media has been continuously criticized for its tendency towards commercialism and readiness merely towards entertainment i.e. minting money out of news. A recent trend that has been witnessed in media is the buying of news and for being in highlights by political parties which is regarded as ‘paid news’ by the Press Council of India. As a matter of fact of ongoing criticisms and constant competition, the political parties are more interested in producing and creating news for maintaining there image which would result in their own good. Many recommendations have been put forth in the paper to save it from the clutches of paid news like self regulation, implementing voluntary code of conduct
The media acts as a watchdog and at the same time it provides a platform to carry people’s voice to the notice of society and legislatures. Some famous criminal cases would have gone unpunished but due to the intervention of media the cases like Priyadarshini Mattoo case, Jessica Lal case, Nitish Katara murder case the culprits are behind the bars and very recently Sushant Singh Rajput case, we have seen huge support from the public though social media platform which is a branch of media. However this virtue does not accept the freedom to commit contempt of court. There have been numerous instances in which media has been accused of conducting the trial of the accused and passing the verdict even before the court gives its judgment. Media, at times completely miss the vital gap between an accused and a convict by keeping at stake the golden principles of presumption of innocence until proven guilty and guilt beyond reasonable doubts. The most suitable way to control the media will be to utilization of the contempt jurisdiction of the court to punish those who infringe the basic code of conduct. The essential objective of media should be to serve the people with news, events, incidents and opinions in the appropriate manner in which they are actually taking place. The freedom of press is a protection for the people. However this protection can go terribly wrong when manipulation and mishandling of news comes into picture and ruin the things completely. The fact that media has played a vital role in keeping a check on the government functionaries which can’t be overlooked, but still there are a lot of loopholes and emptiness that need to be filled. Towards the end, the media’s conduct is expected to be balanced with certain amount of professionalism and ethics in the mind. Media should prevent itself from publication of fake, manipulated or tampered news. Further, it shall not interfere with the privacy of any individual unless there is terrible need of the same in public interest. It is not only ethical but also the duty of media of any country to conserve and protect its cultural heritage and values. Media as an institutions should be more accountable and willing towards the interests of the general public.