The role of Media is sacrosanct for any modern democracy or country. It is the mirror of various facets of the society also including the main arena of good governance. Good governance is one of the primary and critical factors which decides the future of its people. The media should act as a watchdog for society. Only unbiased Press will bring out the truth and reality which every citizen of a country deserves to know. In a democratic country, Media enjoys complete Freedom of Expression. And it has got enormous power of influencing the mass at large. Therefore, they need to act responsibly and impartially.
Democracy and Media
In a humongous country like India, with a democratic form of Government, the media’s role is significant. The Media is responsible for taking up an impartial stance and spreading cognizance to the people regarding any of the Government’s complex laws. If the Government comes up with a good public policy but is not well propagated or understood by the people, then it’s a Pyrrhic victory for the Government. This is where good Media plays its role. But it is significant to remember that the media has the power to make the Government the hero or the villain in the people’s eyes.
Greek philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and JJ Rousseau studied the concept of good governance through The Social Contract Theory and The Origin of the State. A democratic government only thrives if it has the interest of the people. And the Media plays the role of speaking on behalf of the public. The media has the right to expose the Government’s wrongdoings by conducting an in-depth scrutiny or sting operations. Still, it is well to remember that the media shouldn’t always be cynical, neither should it sugar-coat the Government.
Freedom of Press
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the UN said that Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right. A state must provide to its citizens this. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution further reaffirms that the citizens will have Freedom of thought, expression and belief. These form the very foundations of the Freedom of Press. A free and vibrant press denotes a healthy democracy.
The Freedom of Press denoted the absence of any kind of interference from the state and hence being unmoderated. In India though there can be interference by the state. The Fundamental Rights as enumerated in Article 19 of the constitutions are not absolute. Though Freedom of Press isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution but it is considered to be a part of Article 19 (1)(a). The Press forms the much significant link between the society and politics.
Importance of Media
Nowadays the visual Media are more popular than print ones. Younger generations have more inclination towards it. The authenticity of each news is essential. Every report has got some impact on society. If it is wrongly put forward for the benefit of someone, then it would have a long-lasting effect. So, every person in the field of mass communication should have certain ethics, sincerity, and integrity towards this noble profession.
The explosion of 24×7 news channels has reduced news to a few quick sound bites in recent times. We need to be more careful about this. The channels seem paid. At the time, we get an impression that there are two groups in the media. The one is for the Government and the other against it. It will give rise to a disbelief in the whole system.
The very purpose of an unbiased media, which will be the mirror of truth, will be defeated. Thereby the powerful and elite class is getting the benefit out of this. When the journalists are free to monitor, investigate, and criticize the Government and its policies, only transparent and effective journalism can be deeply rooted. Whenever the Government goes for any wrong or one-sided decisions, it is the role of strong Media to stand tall and raise questions, criticize, analyze and stop them from doing so.
Need for an unbiased stance
Every Government has its own ideology and agendas to which a specific part of society will not approve. If the govt is bent upon imposing and injecting their one-sided ideas into the community, there comes the media’s role. It is for them to raise their voice and stop the Government from acting against democratic values. For a press to be of help in good governance, they need to be politically neutral. Then only can they expose the misdeeds of ruling and opposition parties in the same yardsticks. While promoting good governance, media should be able to protect and promote the interest of ordinary citizens by acting as a platform to highlight their grievances.
While standing for good governance, media people should always think and grow out of their religious beliefs, cultural inclinations, and language barriers. They need to practice journalism as their prime religion, which is uninfluenced by their personal opinions. In a vast and diversified country like India, the only parameter we should be focusing on should be development. It should be there in all walks of life, like education, health, economy, equality, and social development should be the Government’s motto. The media should be the solid pillar for promoting this holistically.
In monarchical or dictatorship rulings, media houses are puppets in the hands of the rulers. There the citizens refrain from fair and accessible judgments. They become stranger to the truth either. One needs to have Freedom of expression, faith, a sense of security, and a free environment to breathe.
To have a positive and healthy environment, the media should be able to work fearlessly and truthfully. All the other aspects for a country to reach development becomes naturally set. Each media person should have the required integrity towards his job. They should not become a tool to propagate false and fake propaganda for someone’s benefit and raise voice against corruption, nepotism and misuse of power. Then, the system will automatically become more independent, self-reliant, and transparent, and thereby the country will walk on the path of development.