FREEDOM OF PRESS

Why freedom of press is important? A fundamental need for a democratic society is free press. Freedom of speech is a universal human right. Without fundamental right India would just be another one of the countries like Syria, North Korea and cretain African countries, where there is still dictatorship and one party rule. Jawaharlal Nehru said “I would rather have a completely free press, with all dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom,than the suppressed or regulated press.” In union of India vs association for democratic reforms the supreme court observed that freedom of speech and expression includes right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinion. Freedom of press has three essesntial elements.
              1. Freedom of access to all sources information
              2. Freedom of publication
              3. Freedom of circulation.
    The constitution of India gives us the ability to express what we want to say. This is called freddom of speech and expression.But it doesn’t really mean that what we can say or do whatever we want.Freedom of press is not specifically mentioned in article 19(1)(a). However it was made clear by the drafting committee that the press and an individual or a citizen were the same as far as their expression was concerned. In fact the constitution of India enforces a few terms and conditions that come along with this called “reasonable retrictions” This is expressed in article(19)(2) which lists eight restrictions that limits this freedom.
1. SECURITY OF THE STATE
          Speeches which insite or encourage the commission of violent crimes comes under threat to the security of state. Eg: for rebellion, war against the state, breaches of pubic safety etc
2. FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH FOREIGN STATE
           To prohibit unrestrained malicious propaganda against a friendly state which could jeopardize the good relations between the two states.
3. PUBLIC ORDER
             Implies absence of violence and an orderly state of affairs in which citizens can peacefully pursue their normal avocation of life. Thus creating internal disorder or rebellion would affect public order. Law punishing utterences made with the deliberate intention to hurt the relegious feelings of any class of person is valid because it imposes a restriction on the right of free speech in the interest of public order. Since such kind of speech or writing has the tendency to create public disorder
4. DECENCY OR MORALITY
           Sections 292 and 294 of Indian penal code provides instances of restrictions on the freedom of speech amd expression in the interest of decency or morality. These sections prohibit the sale or distribution or exhibition of obscene words etc in public places.
5. CONTEMPT OF COURT
            Restriction on the freedom of speech and expression can be imposed if it exceeds the reasonable and fair limit and amounts to contempt of court.
6. DEFAMATION
           A statement which injures a man’s reputation, amounts to defamation. Defamation consists in exposing a man to hatred, ridicule or contempt.
7. INCITEMENT TO AN OFFENCE
            Freedom of speeech and expression cannot confer a right to incite people to commit offences.
8. SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRITY OF STATE
             The main purpose is to guard the freedom of speech and expression from being used to assail the sovereignty and integrity of the state.
            
           A free press has a huge responsibility of reporting the truth and shaping people’s opinions. Responsible Journalism must be practiced to stop people from spreading hate and maintaining the harmony of a country.