Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic. – Alexis de Tocqueville
A free press is crucial for a functional democracy, and if not truly free, paves the way for manipulation undermining the premise of democracy itself. “With great power comes greater responsibility,” responsibility of bringing out the truth in front of the people. Press in India is considered to be the fourth pillar of the world largest democracy after Judiciary, Legislation and Executive. However, Reporters Without Borders placed India as the 140th out of 180 countries that was surveyed for the level of free speech. The Constitution of India does not distinctively mention the freedom of press but it is implied from the Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which subjects to the following restrictions that are provided under the Article 19(2) of the Constitution:
- security of the State,
- friendly relations with foreign States,
- public order,
- decency and morality,
- contempt of court,
- incitement to an offence, and
- sovereignty and integrity of India.
May 3rd is celebrated as World Press Freedom Day which is aimed to remind the governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right of freedom of expression under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UNESCO every year confers the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in honour of the Columbian journalist who was assassinated in front of the office premises of his newspaper, EL Espectador on 17th December 1986. Any individual or organization that has made outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom, especially, after facing danger while doing so is awarded with the prize.
The theme for this year is “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda.” It focuses on the media’s importance in development; the safety of journalists and the rule of law; and the sustainability and integrity of journalism. An international conference will be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 5-6 May.
As per Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. the role of media in development and good governance are not mutually exclusive, rather they support each other while promoting a nations socio-economic development. Free press is important for good governance and transparency. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. believes that independent media provides a platform for discussion on various developmental issues like poverty, environment, science, gender, youth, peace etc. Free press can be utilized to monitor, investigate and criticize policies of any nation. A society that has access to public documents and processes can highlight the conflict of interests and empower its citizens to hold accountable the elected representatives. Media plays a crucial role in creation of society where everyone’s voice is heard and everyone is empowered. The World Press Freedom Day is provides an opportunity to deepen our understanding about the role of media and post-2015 development agenda.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”
Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. – Media Team