“Media as the Fourth Pillar of Democracy

“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed.”

Today media plays a very important role in our society. It acts as a watchdog for our country, works to 24 hours 7 days and provide every little and big breaking news. In the history of India, media has been recognized as influential, patriotic, and trust worthy in the socio, economic and political climate of the nation. But this media today destroys the ethics, rules and regulation of the journalism field. India is the one of the best democratic country in the world but our fourth pillar of this democracy does not works properly. Our media has to all of the powers from the government like no one can refuse them for their questioning. 

 Media is conducting a separate inquiry, building up a public opinion against the accused even before the court becomes aware of the case. In all case that inevitably happens. In this way, it biases the jury and often even the judges and as a result the accused is believed to be guilty and is stripped of all his rights and freedom. Media has becomes a ‘public court’ (Janta Adalat) has started to intervene in the case.

Press is considered a cornerstone of democracy. Press has broad ranging social positions. Media plays a crucial role in influencing society's perception, and is able to shift the entire point of view from which people experience various events. Media is the public eye, ear, and mouth. It has social influence and tremendous effect on men and it also has tremendous obligations to fulfill. Media freedom is people's rights, because they should be told about public matters.

Media is misusing freedom of speech and expression. It is interfering with the mechanism of delivery of justice. Excessive use of freedom of speech and expression There have been several instances in which media have been charged with conducting the accused's trial and passing the 'verdict' even before the court passes its judgment Media trial should be conducted without limiting the rights of the accused to a fair trial under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. But the mindset of the media is that “Everything is fair for love, war and breaking news.”

Freedom of the press Article 19 of the International Agreement on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, embodies the right to freedom of expression, i.e. 'Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference' and 'freedom to search, receive and convey knowledge and ideas of all kinds, irrespective of borders, either orally, in writing or in print, in the medium of art or by any other means. While in India, unlike the United States of America, freedom of the press is not a separately guaranteed right, the Supreme Court of India has recognized freedom of the press under the umbrella of freedom of speech and expression, as provided for in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

India has the biggest market for the fourth pillar of democracy that is for our media and printing press with over 82,237 registered newspaper and almost 700 television news channels in our country that running all about news of the India and including other countries and these are increasing day by day very rapidly. It plays an important role between the government bodies and general public it reveals all the bills, acts passed by our government, about the promises done by the political leaders and crimes of gangster, about the new projects of government etc. It is like a mirror which show us harsh reality of life.

The media has so many loopholes in the democratic system like what about the situations in which media is wrong? No more news on those. Free jury is not a blessing for the convicted, it is the trust in the justice system's integrity. Media fries the lawyer who has chosen to prosecute much-known cases of accused Kasab and Delhi Rape, in breach of the principle of fair jury.

One of the main loophole of media also that political parties buys the media in a wrong way like some of the news channels who only shows about the good jobs of BJP political party and another one shows the wrong things of the same party so in this manner they corrupt the media. Some times very fake and wrong news shown by media and also in printing work in various newspapers. Now a days media become a tool for various political parties to brainwash the public in various aspects like for getting more and more votes through media. It is that means of communication which shows public rallies, work done by leaders, about their right and wrong allegations etc. It makes things from fake to real and real to fake. In Delhi teasing case, a girl Harleen Kaur played woman card game and media completely supported her. The accused lost his job and she had to face immense hatred from public. Later on when investigation took place, witnesses confirmed that the accused was actually innocent. So this type of mistakes take place by media and also they did’nt felt guilty about this in actual they ruined the life of woman but no one realize it.

 when media put false accusation on lawyers that they are saving the wrong persons, there might be a possibility that due to the pressure from media and public the lawyer may step back which would lead to the violation of right to present the case, as the accused cannot present his case in court, he needs a lawyer for that. The Apex Court in Ashok Kumar Sonkar v. Union of India[1], held that there cannot be any doubt whatsoever that all the audi alteram partem is one of the basic pillars of natural justice which means no one should be condemned unheard. However, whenever possible the principles of natural justice should be followed. These principles cannot be put in any straitjacket formula. The said principles may not be applied in a given case unless a prejudice is shown. It is not necessary where it would be a futile exercise. There are many cases where trial by media was at next level. Some of them were Delhi eve-teasing case, Badaun Rape Case, Jessica Lal Murder Case, Aarushi Talwar Double Murder Case, Bijal Joshi Rape Case.

Sometimes, due to immense pressure created by the media, investigative team and police to safeguard themselves from the accusation of media has to come up with hypothetical story like it happened it Aarushi Talwar Murder Case, where police and CBI team claimed that deceased father killed his daughter as she came to know about his extra marital affair.

You and me cannot think of the difficulty faced by the innocents during media trial. As there is a huge pressure from media, public, relatives and from investigating teams also. Sometimes the accused in terms of saving his family from the anger of public accept the false allegation. This not only puts the innocent behind the bars but also give the courage to the real culprit to do the act again.

There are many factor that make media biased. There is a racial, religious, Political bias within the media. Obviously media is not completely honest and true in every important issues. There are various issues in which media has to see the benefit of public and manipulate them. To protect the pillars of democracy will not be an easy task in a current culture.

On the other hand, not all the times media is wrong but even if media goes wrong for once it can ruin the entire life of an innocent. Our media do a lot of hard work at all the time we can see in this pandemic each and every information  haves been received with proof and video live streaming also they work day as well as in night also and provide us all important information. Sometime it show the news in an exaggerated way that effects and make a wrong impact on public mind like recent case of gangster ‘Vikas Dubey’ media trolls him very much a lot of information provided without any strong confirmation actually they scared the public like he was a big gangster he can do anything etc. So this one is the main problem with media to shown the news in exaggerated way. 

 Banasthali vidhyapith