Media is a parliament of citizens. Comment on the Pros and Cons of Media freedom in India. (200 W)

Mentor’s Comment:

Introduction should explain about the role media play as a guarantor and protector of an informed citizenry, which is important in a democracy like India. However, the 2017 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders ranks India at 136 out of 180 countries.

Next, in the main body mention about the pros of media freedom. An independent media acts as an important check on government and administrator, raises voice against social ill, internal vigilance against corruption etc.

Further, mention about cons. Paid news, deteriorating standards of reporting, favouring the political party in power, fake news, no news on some of the grave issues like beef ban, cow vigilantism, mob lynching, killing of innocent by mob in the name of cow protectionism, Going extra mile for gaining TRPs, Advent of social media led to competition for instant and quick news and reporting without first checking the facts. For  example:  Reporting  of  GPS  Nano  chips  in  new  500  and  2000  notes etc.

Bring conclusion citing the lack of effective laws and regulation to regulate media affairs. Please be balanced while concluding without taking very extreme steps in any direction.

Model Answer:

Freedom of the press  was not  created by the  Founding Fathers  for the  convenience of  either the politicians or the press. It was created as a guarantor and protector of an informed citizenry, without which India’s democracy is under threat. The 2017 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders ranks India at 136 out of 180 countries.

Pros of media freedom:

  • An independent  press  and  news-media  acts  as  an  important  check  on  Government  and Administrators.
  • The duty of a free press is to raise voice against any social ill or wrong. It has been said that internal vigilance is the price of liberty.
  • They raise voice against any dictatorship, corruption, and malpractices.
  • The people  of  the  country  are  kept  informed  of  what  is  happening  in  the    Thus, freedom  of  press  and  media  is  the  necessary  pre-condition  to  the  fulfillment  of  democratic ideologies.

Cons of media freedom:

  • The Indian  media  is  often  criticised  for  its  deteriorating  reporting  standards,  jaundiced coverage  of  politics  and  regurgitation  of  online  trends  as  prime  time
  • Over the  past  few  years  our  media  has  become  the  mouthpiece  of  the  party  in  Coupled  with  the  fact  the  corporate  owners  of  media  houses  share  close  links  with  the government,  the  Indian  media  has  tragically  lost  its  voice.
  • Fake news, paid news in the time of elections to gain extra mileage have become reality; The Election Commission  is  reported  to  have  identified  more  than  1,400  cases  of  paid  news between  2009  and
  • Serious issues  like  the  beef  ban,  the  crisis  in  Kashmir,  dissent  in  universities  and  even  the unrest  in  societies  where  Dalits  –  the  lowest  level  of  India’s  caste  system  –  have  been discriminated  or  killed,  have  received  scant  mention  in  media
  • In recent times the race to gain TRP’s has led to emergence of sensational news by the press for example  too  much  attention  was  given  to  Panchkula  Baba  over  Doklam
  • There is  also  unwillingness  across  the  media  to  robustly  challenge  the  official  narrative  on key  issues  partly  out  of  its  own  failings  but  also  largely  out  of  fear  of  being  denied  access to  those  in
  • Advent of social media led to competition for instant and quick news and reporting without first checking the facts.
    • For example:  Reporting  of  GPS  Nano  chips  in  new  500  and  2000
  • In recent times in absence of weak regulation, lack of self-control, degradation of ethical and professional values is making the press a tool used by political and corporate bodies for their own self-interest.

In a democracy, there should be some medium through which people may raise their grievances and get their grievances addressed. Such platforms are being provided by media. Therefore, Media should be more responsible to the press freedom and should provide only authentic news as it is the fourth pillar of democracy.