Is Indian Media in Dire Need of More Stringent Regulation?

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Today there is an urgent need to regulate the Indian Media as they have become judge, jury, and executioner. They follow no rules whatsoever both on land and sky. The Indian Media has become a monster and it will soon devour the fundamental rights of the citizens of India.

The Indian Media is bolstered by getting away after violating the law of the land time and again on the pretext of freedom of the press. The news anchors of many private news channels on Indian television have brazenly violated all ethics of journalism 24×7 and no notices have been issued to them by any regulatory body.

Freedom of the press is important but we must have checks and balances on media or else they will destroy our constitutional rights and institutions.

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A section of Indian Media has become dangerous and are openly inciting hate campaign against a particular community. They have also shamelessly breached individual citizen’s privacy. They have defamed people on live television and got away with it.

The Media is the fourth pillar and they must ask questions about the functioning of the other 3 pillars.

The Media must highlight issues that affect people at large. The media should become the voice of the poor and disenfranchised. The media should voice protests on abuse of power by the high and mighty.

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Sadly we see a circus on Indian Media and mostly all Indian private television channels have an agenda and that is high TRP for that they stoop down to any level.

The Government has to check the media as it is a double-edged sword and the Government must remember that it can help the ruling Government and also can topple the ruling Government.

The unbridled media is a threat to all citizens as we don’t know when it will come for us.

There is freedom of the press as well as we have reasonable restrictions to the same freedom of the press. There are several judgments delivered by the Supreme Court of India on restrictions of illegal reporting by Indian media.

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We all must remember that Joseph Goebbels through media propaganda brought absolute power to the Third Reich. The poetic form of confessional prose by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller is as follows:-

“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.”

We must speak out against this subservient media which is biased.

The Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India are not absolute. Certain restrictions can be imposed by the state according to the procedure established by law. However, these restrictions must be reasonable and not arbitrary. Article 19 covers these fundamental freedoms as well as the restrictions which can be imposed on these rights. The right which media has to free speech is also restricted by reasonable restrictions if they go beyond the law of the land in their freedom of speech.

The media trial and media witch-hunting on television has to be stopped. The media must win back the lost credibility by becoming the voice of the common people. They must write and speak about the issues faced by the common people of India at large.

Independence of media is important for a robust democracy but if the media becomes a rouge monster then it is a danger to democracy. We need a balance between freedom and duty. The media has the freedom and that is why they only show news which will give them high TRP like Kangna vs BMC, Mr.Sushant Sigh Rajput, and Reah Chakrabarty controversy, and Hindu Muslim debates. They mostly are silent on important issues that affect the public at large.

We have the press council of India, now we have to give it teeth so that it can do the job.

The Government is capable to do the job of regulation by taking on the rouge media and bringing them in line, only political will is required to reign in the media circus which is going on in India now.


Adv. Samik Chatterjee is a practicing lawyer before the Supreme Court of India and High Court, Calcutta. He has done his BBA LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. He is from Kolkata and works on constitutional cases and criminal cases. He has been in practice for the last 10 years.


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1 COMMENT

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