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Freedom of Press

Freedom of Press
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Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Monday said a free media was not only beneficial, but necessary in a free society and any attack on the freedom of...

Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Monday said a free media was not only beneficial, but necessary in a free society and any attack on the freedom of press would jeopardise the citizens' rights. When faced with "unjust restrictions" and the "threat of an attack", self-censorship in the media could have an "opposite effect", aiding the covering up of abuses and fostering frustration in the marginalised communities, he said.

He said in this age of "post-truths" and "alternative facts", where "advertorials" and "response features" edged out the editorials, "We would do well to recall (Jawaharlal) Nehru's vision of the press playing its role of a watchdog in a democracy and look at the ethos and principles that powered his journalism." India figures at 136th rank on the 2017 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.

The Freedom of the Press is nowhere mentioned in the Indian constitution. The Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression is provided in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. It is believed that Freedom of Speech and Expression in Article 19 of the Indian constitution include freedom of the press, writes importantindia.com.

Article 19(1) says “All citizens shall have the right: (a) to freedom of speech and expression; (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) to form associations or unions; (d) to move freely throughout the territory of India; (e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and (f) omitted (g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Article 19 says the freedom of press thus is subject only to reasonable restrictions in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, public order, decency, contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence. The Working Journalists Act tries to give a degree of protection to the journalists to ensure the freedom of press.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, says that "Congress shall make no law....abridging (limiting) the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Freedom of speech is the liberty to speak openly without fear of government restraint. It is closely linked to freedom of the press because this freedom includes both the right to speak and the right to be heard. In the United States, both the freedom of speech and freedom of press are commonly called freedom of expression.

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