Importance of Free Press
India is one of the largest democracies in the world. With Democracy we mean for the people, by
the people, and to the people. In a democratic country the Government, the Press, the Judiciary,
and the Legislature work towards the betterment of the citizens of the country.
During the struggle for independence of our country, the press worked as a weapon for the
oppressed and voiceless people. The first printed newspaper was the “Bengal Gazette” which
came in the year 1780 and was run by an Irishman James Augustus Hicky which had a satirical
tone and ridiculed the British Raj. This shows that press or media is by the people of the state
and not by the ruling party but still there wasn’t any space for free press so it was ceased to
function from 1782 but it left behind its legacy.
Free Press is a word used for the media which is not controlled by the government for professing
the political agendas and mottos of the government to the masses. A Democratic country can
only work fruitfully if it works hand in hand with the free press as it is the voice of the people
who made the government. Media acts as a connecting link between the actions of the
government and the reactions of the people. Through this reaction, the government knows what
the public feels and what all problems they face. The free press is an essential element for a
democracy to run in its true blood.
Indian Constitution has no separate article for free press like the constitution of the United States.
Free Press has the right to write, inform and educate the citizens about what is happening in the
country. May 3rd is marked as the day of the free press. India ranks 140 among the 180
countries in the World Press Freedom Index which measures the level of freedom given to the
press. We as Indians always wanted the press to be free from all the boundaries and present us
authentic and reliable information. Press Act in 1910 again got implemented in 1931-1932 in
India. During the time of Emergency Indira Gandhi had controlled the press and media which
restricted the information to reach the citizens.
Free Press is also important as an individual cannot reach out to the government directly but can
truly express his/her misery, problems through the press. The free press provides us an insight
into each party’s actions which helps us to form opinions, compare the various parties, judge the
respective party’s actions and come up with constructive criticism. It helps the government in
providing information regarding the needs and requirements of the public for them to act in a
manner that benefits the citizens. It also makes people aware of the policies, amendments,
schemes, projects, laws, etc. of the government so that they can know what the elected
government is doing for them and whether it is beneficial or not. For example,
the Demonetization of 2016 in India was propagated to the citizens through media.
The Lockdown of 2020 in India was also informed through a free press. Free Press during the
times of the Pandemic fed us with information regarding the acts of various people, politicians,
and the medical staff. A person might forget about the promises made by the politicians at the
time of election but printed newspaper acts as an evidence for the people.
For the press to be free from all the illusions the journalists and reporters should be fearless and
confident to come up with real and unaltered reports. It should deal with issues like corruption,
unfulfilled promises, disloyal behavior, or misuse of power. There are many ways by which the
press is restricted like by bribing the writers, editors, or reporters. Murdering the Reporters
and Journalists, as they might have published articles against a particular political party,
organization, or a group. Targeting the Press Workers is a common act by people promoting
hate campaigns, trolling, and character assassination. Free Press leads to stronger democracies.
Free Press also leads to fairer elections and productive democracy. It leads the public on the path
of “Discovery of truth” and keeps the majority and the minority informed about the actions of
the government. Free Press is the 1st step towards knowing the various human rights that we
have nationally and internationally. Free Press is the need and every country should abide by it.