WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
Media freedom and its pitfalls
- Markandey Katju
Media freedom and its pitfalls



Today, 3rd May, is World Press Freedom Day, as declared by the United Nations.

In this connection I wish to present my views.

Votaries of media freedom often  treat media freedom as a fetish, as an end in itself. In my opinion media freedom can at most be a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end must be raising the standard of living of the people and giving them better lives. If media freedom helps secure that end it should be supported, but not otherwise.

Today many TV channels spread communal hatred. Should such freedom be permitted?
 
Much of the media peddles lies e.g. against Tablighi Jamaat, as it happened recently? Should that be allowed? Much of media propagates astrology, which is pure superstition. Should they be allowed to do so?
 
And much of our media diverts attention of the people from the real issues facing the nation e.g. poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, price rise etc to relative triviialities and non issues like lives of film stars, cricket, petty politics, astrology, pop music, fashion parades etc.
 
Our media often behaves like French Queen Marie Antoinette who when told that the people do not have bread said they can eat cake. So does our media deserve freedom? To increase ratings many of our TV channels can go to any low level, and indulge in sensationalism, jingoism, communal propaganda etc.

When I became Chairman of the Press Council of India in 2011 I suggested that those mediapersons who did wrong things should be penalised by fines, or in extreme cases even arrest and jail. Immediately after I said this almost the entire media community raised a hue and cry against me and portrayed me as a tyrant who wants to suppress freedom.
-------------
Watch video:
-------------
I pointed out that I did not want the power to penalise vested in the Chairman but in the entire Press Council which consists of 28 members and decides by majority vote. Out of these 28 members 20 are representatives of the press, elected by the press bodies (6 owners, 6 editors, 7 working journalists and one representative of a news agency). Five members are Members of Parliament (3 from Lok Sabha and 2 from Rajya Sabha). The other three are one each from the Bar Council of India, UGC and Sahitya Academy.

So the vast majority of members of the PCI are persons from the press. The power to punish should be in the PCI, and so members of the press themselves would have the power to punish their peers. What reasonable objection can the press have to this? I also suggested that TV can also be brought within the Press Council (by an amendment to the PCI Act) and it can be renamed Media Council with 20 representatives from the broadcast media too in it who are elected by their bodies.

I said that I am not in favour of control of the media but its regulation.The difference between the two is that in control there is no freedom, but in regulation there is freedom subject to reasonable restrictions in the public interest. Every activity has to be regulated.
 
If a lawyer commits professional misconduct he can be debarred by the Bar Council. A doctor who commits medical misconduct can be debarred by the Medical Council. A Judge who takes bribe can be impeached by Parliament. Everyone is accountable in a democracy. So the media too must be made accountable.

But to these suggestions there was fierce opposition by the entire media community, who don't want any regulation of any kind by anybody. They said we will self regulate.
 
I submit self regulation is an oxymoron. If the media should be allowed self regulation, then everybody should be allowed self regulation. Why have laws at all against murder, rape, theft etc? Let everyone self regulate.

So I regret to say that as long as our media keeps behaving in the irresponsible manner as it has been doing I cannot support media freedom.
 

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India. 

(Main Illustration: Suvajit Dey) 

 
 
 
Watch video:
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT

 








Comment by: Shakti Gayatri Panda

Very knowledgeable article. One must understand that freedom of press is not absolute , there are some restrictions are present , which one must comply with.. Thank u sir

reply


Comment by: BLESSED


OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE QUICK MONEY FOR KIDNEY DONORS;

WE ARE URGENTLY IN NEED OF KIDNEY

DONORS WITH THE SUM OF

$800,000.00 USD, CONTACT US NOW ON

VIA EMAIL FOR MORE

DETAILS. +905488241881

blessedkidneycare@gmail.com

reply


Comment by: Praveen Krishna

I'm doing this because I promised Mr Brandon Parker if I got my profits back I will recommend him to people in the world, if you have been seeing people testifying about Mr Brandon Parker don't doubt, he is 100% real, for the first time in my life when I invested $1000 with him I got paid $7500 from crypto trading within a month, thank you sir Mr Brandon Parker. I can't recommend you to someone who is not real, Mr Brandon Parker is real when it comes to trading don't doubt him, you can contact him to give him a try and also see for yourself.
Whatsapp: +1(520)775-0121 or Telegram: @trustcrypto
Email: bit.fxtrade@yahoo . com

reply


Comment by: HEALTH CARE


We are urgently in need of Organs Donors, Kidney donors,Female Eggs,Kidney donors Amount: $500.000.00 Dollars
Female Eggs Amount: $500,000.00 Dollars
WHATSAP: +91 91082 56518
Email: : customercareunitplc@gmail.com
Please share this post.




We are urgently in need of Organs Donors, Kidney donors,Female Eggs,Kidney donors Amount: $500.000.00 Dollars
Female Eggs Amount: $500,000.00 Dollars
WHATSAP: +91 91082 56518
Email: : customercareunitplc@gmail.com
Please share this post.






We are urgently in need of Organs Donors, Kidney donors,Female Eggs,Kidney donors Amount: $500.000.00 Dollars
Female Eggs Amount: $500,000.00 Dollars
WHATSAP: +91 91082 56518
Email: : customercareunitplc@gmail.com
Please share this post.





We are urgently in need of Organs Donors, Kidney donors,Female Eggs,Kidney donors Amount: $500.000.00 Dollars
Female Eggs Amount: $500,000.00 Dollars
WHATSAP: +91 91082 56518
Email: : customercareunitplc@gmail.com
Please share this post.



We are urgently in need of Organs Donors, Kidney donors,Female Eggs,Kidney donors Amount: $500.000.00 Dollars
Female Eggs Amount: $500,000.00 Dollars
WHATSAP: +91 91082 56518
Email: : customercareunitplc@gmail.com
Please share this post.

reply


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div> <a> <img>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
You may also Like

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER