LEGALISTIC NOTION SUCH AS DUTY AND OBLIGATION


Media as a Pet-Dog instead of a Watchdog- Soram Agrawal, Government New Law College, Indore ,II-B.A.LL.B.

Introduction:- In the modern age, the media have become the pillar of the society. The whole of the society relies on the media and so, its obligations are growing. The media is becoming more and more strong and it is known as the “fourth pillar of democracy”. Media serves as a protector of public interest by serving as a bridge between citizens and the state. But as we all know, there are always two sides of a coin which means the media can either lift the nation to heights or can cause a state of disorganization. So, let us see what the media is doing in the present scenario with its absolute reality.

Role and importance of media :- 

  1. Helps in bringing true facts:-  Media often places reality before the eyes of the people of the nation. Media has helped each and every individual to know and understand the information coming from the various institutions and channels from past to present scenarios. Media acts as a watchdog on all the activities carried out by the government authorities, court proceedings , activities of the public or private sector. It makes us aware of and tells about all the events of the world. Media is like a third eye to the government which gives real truth. Media is considered to be the best forum and means of mass communication.

  2. Legal awareness:- It is possible to understand the role of the media is exchanging legal knowledge as the techniques and instruments that aid the dissemination of ideas in the form of written words, symbols, photographs, cartoons, videos etc.. to be conveyed from person to person by means of the media. All of this includes Print media , Social media (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp) and multimedia as well. The growth of the media with the moving age can be seen proportional to the development of society.

  3. Channel of transparency:- For the purpose of hearing and the pronouncement of the order, our country follows the open court system to ensure accountability in the judicial system. The idea of governance transparency focuses on the inclusive involvement of all in democratic process to instill “openness” in public decision making and ensure that the government remains corruption free and citizen centered.

 

Legality and the Reality:- Under Section 19(1) of the Indian Constitution the citizens of India have been given the right to freedom of speech and expression. But, without access to information this right is incomplete. Right to receive and right to impart information have been held to be part of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the sub-clause (1) of Article 19 of the Constitution subject of course reasonable restrictions.

 

  • Indira Gandhi V/S. Raj Narain here, the Court explicitly stated that the people of this country have a right to know every public act or anything which is done in public way by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particular of every public transaction in all its bearings.

  • Bennett Coleman & Co. & Ors V/S Union of India & Ors. Here, the RTI was held to be included within the Right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 (1)(a).

Wide scope of RTI:-  The Right to Information Act , 2005 which came fully into effect on 12 October, 2005, is one of the most significant legislation enacted by the Indian parliament. It aims to ensure that “transparency” is the rule whereas secrecy is an “exception” to the working of every public authority. It seeks to ensure full accountability and openness as well as the machinery and functioning of the government at all levels.

Barriers in the way of media:-

  1. Paid News:-  The freedom of media sometimes becomes boon for the media and sometimes bane. The media are becoming more and more popular to selectively cover the news and events for others or damage the reputation for someone. The new system has further the media image. The paid news is news which is not entirely accurate or is kept in the air for a personal benefit and the price paid by the organisation. It is essentially a publicity without an advertising standard. This is meant for or someone or to fear someone. In the current situation this form of news certainly would have an adverse effect on the people living in the society.

  2. Fake News :- In India false news is a misinformation in the country spread by word of mouth and conventional media but, more recently by means of digital communication such as filtered videos, reports, unverified publicity and social media rumours which is often known as “junk news”. False facts, the titbits of gossip, published images and plantings of content spread via social media sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter etc. like forest fire among 564.5 million internet users in India. Agencies destroy the entity of individuals for financial gain and make dishonest headlines.

 

Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword:- What we see on television networks now is actual news but the attention is on what produces more TRP regardless of the principles of journalism. The media, called the watchdog has now become the dog waiting for a bone. The biggest example we can see is the case of Sushant Singh Rajput, the prime concern of the media and the attention. In his case, we can see that the media themselves have become the prosecutor and the judges which violates the due process of law. The other issues like pandemic, healthcare, floods, border fights etc. were sidelined and neglected.

 

Violation of the due process of law:- 

  1. Due process of law and the role of media:-  According to the rule, after the due  investigation a person accused of any crime shall not be prosecuted. What we see is that the media themselves become a commission of inquiry. In the SSR case we can see that many news channels were showing and accusing Rhea Chakraborty for doing “black magic”. The specific case which creates uncertainty about the reputation of India’s key research agencies.

  2. Privacy and reputation:- In today's time, we constantly see the media abuse the right to privacy of individuals that are not ethical and fair. In their view of freedom of expression and democracy, they would go as far as possible. Even if in some cases, the accused will not be proven guilty then who will be held responsible for the damaged reputation of the accused?.

  3. Real issues sidelined:- The big offence committed by these news channels that demonstrated the unfortunate death of SSR as a matter of national significance and is marginalised in other matters which actually have a domestic importance, which defines media objective. A news channel showed a regular routine of Rhea Chakraborty which is irrelevant and has nothing to do with the general public. All this illustrates that the media known as the watchdog has become the pet dogs of political or rich parties with only TRP and money in their emphasis. The appetite for money has now made the media to lose its goal of reporting news with transparency, precision, reliability and impartiality.

India needs “Azadi” from biased news :- News has lost its wisdom and moved from individuals to the regime and has allowed enterprise corporations to monitor and lay down the agenda on behalf of freedom of press. The whole media manipulation is that depressing. How much evidence can be dissolved is a permanent fight. Media corporations do not have critical curiosity but reinvent the absurdities in new ways. A prime example is the JNU case, by promoting false news as gospel, the media wrote the wrong history. Misleading speculations and relentless misinformation stirred up a great section of India. Lies stretch out more easily than reality. The position of social media has become a key source of absurdities from repeating these mainstream media. Incorrectness has come true and journalistic wisdom was sold for financial or ideological purposes. The India masses have created the art of “confirmation biases'' that is why India needs “Azadi” from biased news.

Conclusion:-  Media the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent and that is the power because they control the mind of the masses. Media should not run on the fingers of the government and should not become the pet dogs that runs behind TRP and money. Media nowadays losing its credibility because of the values being compromised, truth being buried, morality being destroyed and values being choked. To protect this fourth pillar of democracy definitely not be an easy task but it can be restored. Media should stop being a “pet dog”.