Press freedom, a myth in India for decades
Believing in the existence of press freedom in our country is nothing but the credulity of people.
The whole nation during the British rule awakened and mobilized by the Indian press. Press has played a very pivotal role in liberating India from the hands of Britishers. The British Government enacted numerous laws and legislation to clamp down the press’s freedom with the Indian Press Act in 1910. Later this act followed the Indian Press Emergency Act in 1931. Was From 1939 to 1945, censorship declared all the publications and activities by Congress as illegal.
Then after gaining independence, the Indian press found itself in a very peculiar situation. It was unfair and unjust to speak against the newly formed Government in an independent nation. Under Article 19(1) (a), the Indian constitution gives the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. But under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution, many restrictions are mention to keep a check on the Freedom of Speech and Expression. The freedom of the press in India comes under the ambit of freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
Press freedom is crucial in a democracy as it acts as a watchdog and puts the public’s opinions in front of the whole world. At times the press subjugates by inflicting restrictions by the governments. For 70 years, many journalists had started to learn to assassinate when they raised their voice against the central or state power.
In 1993, Dinesh Pathak was stabbed by Risaldar’s men but was claimed as an encounter by the police. He was cracking down on the underworld and was campaigning against the criminal activities of Shiv Sainiks. Bakshi Tirat Singh, who was one of the prominent reporters in ‘Hind Samachar,’ murder in 1992.
The motive of the murder is still unknown. However, In 1999, a brutal murder took the place of an Indian Express journalist, which left the nation in shock. Shivani Bhatnagar was a great journalist in the Government who had connections with a top-level police officer Ravi Kant Sharma. Sharma scared that she will expose him with all his deeds in front of the world with her words. Another reporter named Paritosh Pandey was a crime reporter, was shot several times in his residence.
The incident took place in April 2002. The incident drew the attention of the whole nation. There was a rage among the country’s journalists, and they took down the streets to protest against this severe attack on freedom of expression. Another brutal incident took place on 5 September 2017, which reflected the dire conditions of freedom of the press. Gauri Lankesh, a very fearless journalist, killed on this date. She was a courageous journalist and dared to make a savage attack with her questions.
Moreover, we are losing many prominent journalists day by day. Freedom of expression was always at stake. Can we stand together in a democratic country and raise our voice to abolish the cruelty on the fourth pillar of democracy?