The Press plays a very significant role in the life of a democratic society. Of course, the role of the press cannot be minimised even in a dictatorship, because a dictator also needs the Press for propagating his ideology and policies. He has to use the Press to inform the people regarding the achievements of his government. But the freedom of the press plays a very positive and constructive In a democracy.
In a democracy, the role of Press is quite different. It is the dissemination of information and news. The reality is that without a free, frank and fearless press, democracy cannot be a success. The newspapers keep the people informed of the international and national news and happenings. Any incident taking place in any corner of the country or the world is splashed by the Press immediately.
In a democracy, newspapers play a very important role in the world. They keep the people informed about the programme and policies of the Government. Similarly, they keep the Government informed of the desires, wishes and grievances of the people. In this way in a democracy, newspapers play a dual role for society. They try to bridge the gap between the Government and the people. On the other hand, in dictatorship newspapers are only one-way media in the hands of the dictator. The dictator tries to promote only his personal interest through the Press.
The newspapers can play a constructive role in a democratic society. By dissemination of information and correct reporting, they can greatly help in the formation of a healthy public opinion among the whole people. But sometimes certain newspapers indulge in yellow journalism. They give highly sensational, biased and coloured news just to create some sort of excitement among the people. They spread rumours and indulge in mudslinging. Such actions on the part of the press must be curbed.
Some newspapers also spread communal and sectarian feelings. They are responsible for the spread of the poison of communal hatred among the different communities causing religious riots. Such communally oriented newspapers instead of doing any service do a lot of disservice to the nation.
The foremost duty of a newspaper should be truthful and objective reporting of news and views. But in India, most of the newspapers and controlled by business magnets. They try to give a tainted and distorted version of the news to serve their own interests. The news is tilted in favour of the capitalists and rich classes instead of the poor and the working classes.
The freedom of the Press is the mod important factor if it has to play any significant role in the life of a nation. This is especially so in a democratic society. Unless the Press itself enjoys freedom, how can it become the defender and the protector of the rights and liberties of the citizens? A free press signifies and open society, where decisions are made according to democratic traditions. The press can only perform its sacred duties if it is free and independent in publishing news, views and reporting.
The Press should not be afraid of upholding and supporting just and righteous cause. It should not be afraid of criticising the government in a healthy manner. The Press should also not be afraid of influential persons. The Press has to be eternally vigilant to protect the rights of the workers, the backward and suppressed sections of the society. There should also be a balanced view of things so that people can be helped to build healthy public opinion.
But like all other freedoms, the freedom of the Press should also not be used as a licence. It should not be misused to create a situation of the law of the jungle. The Press should also observe certain self-imposed limitations on itself. It should not publish any views which harm the interests of the nation. It should rather strengthen the nation and contribute towards the emotional integration of the country.
Essay No 2 (300 words)
“Newspaper is the people’s parliament.” The newspaper or the press is a public forum and it plays a vital role in democracy. It is rightly said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Napoleon used to say, “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”
Freedom of thought and expression of views has an honoured value in every democratic constitution. The press safeguards the democratic rights of the people and therefore it should be bold enough to say what is wrong and what is right even if it is unpleasant to the rulers. It should bring to the public view the acts of injustice, oppression and maladministration. It should expose the grievances of the people and criticise the authorities for their failure. And in this way, it becomes a vital organ to form the public opinion and compel the government to give up any wrong policy and to do the right. Of course, the monopoly of the press is also bad. There should be a healthy rivalry among different newspapers. The situation should be such that if one newspaper suppresses some news, another newspaper will publish it.
The press in a democratic country has also great responsibilities. Like the judiciary, it should have an impartial outlook in reporting the news. Partisan views and sensational news can do great harm to the nation. The press should, therefore, refrain from biased and distorted reportage in any way.
However, the government should not impose censorship or curb the freedom of the press with an autocratic or tyrannical attitude as the freedom of the press guarantees the freedom of the people. But at the same time, it should also be borne in mind that freedom is not the equivalent word of licence. Freedom of the press should be a valued privilege and has to be safeguarded. Consequently, people at large must be educated and conscious to ensure the responsibility of the press, and, so long as this is not done, freedom of the press is bound to be a far cry.