By Aabid Mushtaq
Media houses are the litmus tests for any arbitrary and unaccountability of government. How democracy dies and how it lives is directly dependent on the neutral, unbiased and unsold press houses. The press known, as one of the main tenets of democracy must work in reconciliation with the principles of live and dynamism of democracy. The check and balance of arbitrariness, and excessive/abuse of discretion at the hands of government is a premises of media houses. Media is supplying the political information that voters base their decisions on. The role of media becomes more crucial when conscience of power does not seem settling on truth and reading down the last breathes of democracy. They also serve as watchdogs that we rely on for unveiling heinous evils, abuse of power and any other wrongdoings by those who have power.
The country is witnessing the brunt of Indian media, as they have been in a race to dilute and to testify to kill the democratic nature of the societies. The terror , offshoots and culminate of reporting’s of most of the Indian news channels are devastating and humiliating which not only mediocre the ethics of it but obliterate the largest democracy of the world. Media in the country is dancing at the finger tips of governments, a sold out, biased and a machinery to carry out governments campaigns. When democracy gets peters out the media is first hand guilty of this unruly and shoddy change. From holding the underrated broadcasting and veiling the truth, how republic TV had rejoiced out of the 05th august 2019’s siege, cage and communication blackout of J&K. This outlet decisively followed by other channels to spoke the language of government and made abnormality a new normal in the erstwhile state of J&K. The truth was truth, as in the whole world was known about the distressing and genocidal situations of Kashmir even the last of J&K governor Satya pal malik confessed the dangerous apprehensions and his preplanned destructive intentions and arrangements. The democracy dies a thousand deaths where the media outlets show such approaches. Furth more, when such broadcasting of incidents becomes routine then there remains no liberty and dignity of common masses. The political system of country turns into autocratic if goes unquestioned and unchecked. The unprecedented stagger does not stop there; the same media became an instigative and played an immoral part during Delhi riot, as Arudhati Roy in her book “Azadi” called it an attempted pogrom against Muslims. In which about 53 people died, 200 were injured, properties destroyed that included four mosques, set ablaze by the rioters. Notwithstanding to stop the violence to get drifted, the newsrooms proved fuel to fire by turning it or giving it color of communal violence and Hindu/Muslim shape. The journalists have sidelined their profession, the horror and unreasonable approach of carrying out the political motives is itself ruining the idea of welfare state. The important issues remain untouched and unheard, how media houses are exaggerating and praising the current political regime on really doing nothing in any sphere of the developmental structures of a country. The media outlets are deeply engage with the “jumla baazi” rather focusing on how the government has miserably failed in upgrading its economy, degrading its governance, an unaccountable; hijacking of judicial system, grave corruption, injustice, mismanagement of covid19 and intrusion of china is most distressing.
The importance of media, press houses and the ethical journalism is far beyond the conceiving of a political intervention and their tools ,indeed and better interpretation of the premises and power it holds is what supreme court of India has emphasized and held;
The Supreme Court of India in the case between the Indian Express Newspapers and the Union of India (AIR 1985 2SCC 434) observed that Article 19 of the Indian Constitution does not use the phrase “freedom of the press” in its language but it is contained within Article 19(1) (a):
“There cannot be any interference with the freedom of the press in the name of public interest. The purpose of the press is to enhance public interest by publishing facts and opinions, without which a democratic electorate cannot take responsible decisions.”
When freedom of the press snatched, it demeans all other democratic ideals and they become hallow as Justice PN Prakash of the Madras High Court has observed and emphasized, “India is a vibrant democracy and the fourth estate is indubitably an indispensable part of it. If the voice of the fourth estate is stifled— India will become a Nazi state and the hard labor of our freedom fighters and makers of our constitution will go down the drain”
The waiving of such powers, obligations, and rights by the media houses is a direct blot on democratic structure of a country. Where the debates, discussion, prime shows are more about problematic not the issue solving. The immorality, fuss, mess and what should I call it in strict sense it turns sometimes into an obscene platforms. From mocking Muslims by calling out their religious gatherings as corona Jihad, too late but better than nothing the Bombay High Court held that the Tablighi Jamaat event held in Delhi in March this year, were made “scapegoats” and allegations were leveled that they were responsible for spreading COVID-19 in the country. to the recent incident of UPSC JIHAD, wherein a news correspondent comes with news in which he is investigating why Muslims get increasing number of recruitment in civil services? This is where the ethics and existential philosophy of media press and journalism does not only dormant’s but becomes pitiful and dead. Henceforth becomes cataclysmic for the democratic nature of governance.
The government puts vast restrictions on free speech and expressions. How does administration hold up the reports, newspapers and magazines on different reporting? Freedom of speech is not absolute. Article 19(2) imposes restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression. The reasons for such restrictions are in the interests of: security, sovereignty and integrity of the country, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality, Hate speech, defamation and contempt of court. When such restrictions are already there in place, the press houses must be very vigilant about its misuse and abuse by the political regimes of times. The mood and the nature of political structure of a country get change with the behavior in the plinth of its systems, which, however, were holding the originality of the politics. It is not the democracy that turns into autocracy and monarchy or fascist of its own but the tenets of democracy, which with time gets diluting and irrelevant in the sense of not being obliged to accomplish its assigned works. It should be clear now and actually very open to deal with the political system of a country if there is mis-governance and mismanagement of crucial issues. Veiling the loopholes in the administrative setup of a government is an open invitation of diminution in the growth and development of a country. The whole affairs of a country whether internal or external remains stagnate and underdeveloped when there is improper and state sponsored media, because if there is no investigation there is no accountability and democracy at all.
Author is a student of law at school of law, University of Kashmir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org