Direction: The passage given below is followed by a set of question. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.
For proper functioning of democracy it is essential that citizens are kept informed about news from various parts of the country and even abroad, because only then can they form rational opinions. A citizen surely cannot be expected personally to gather news to enable him or her to form such opinions. Hence, the media play an important role in a democracy and serve as an agency of the people to gather news for them. It is for this reason that freedom of the press has been emphasised in all democratic countries, while it was not permitted in feudal or totalitarian regimes.
In India, the media have played a historical role in providing information to people about social and economic evils. Also, sometimes the media present twisted or distorted news that may contain an element of truth but also an element of untruth.
Recently, Media comments on pending cases, especially on criminal cases where the life or liberty of a citizen is involved, are a delicate issue and should be carefully considered. After all, judges are human beings too, and sometimes it may be difficult for them not to be influenced by such news. This, too, should be avoided because a half-truth can be more dangerous than a total lie. The media should avoid giving any slant to news, and avoid sensationalism and yellow journalism. Only then will they gain the respect of the people and fulfill their true role in a democracy.
The British law is that when a case is sub judice, no comment can be made on it, whereas U.S. law permits such comment. In India we may have to take an intermediate view on this issue: while on the one hand we have a written Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech in Article 19(1)(a) - which the unwritten British Constitution does not - the life and liberty of a citizen is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 and should not lightly be jeopardised. Hence, a balanced view has to be taken on this.
Therefore, the media have a great responsibility also to see that the news they present is accurate and serve the interest of the people. If the media convey false news that may harm the reputation of a person or a section of society, it may do great damage since reputation is a valuable asset for a person. Even if the media subsequently correct a statement, the damage done may be irreparable. Hence, the media should take care to carefully investigate any news item before reporting it.
Article 19(1) (1) talks about freedom of Speech and Expression and Article 21 talks about life and personal liberty of a person and in case of conflict between Article 19 (1)(1) and Article 21, which one will be taken into consideration.
Article 21 is supreme Article
Freedom of press in India Stands on no higher footing than the freedom of speech of a citizen
The press enjoys no privilege as such distinct from freedom of citizens.
A balance has to be made between both the articles
A balance has to be made between both the articles.
Article 19 and 21 both are very essential for personal liberty and whenever there is a conflict between both the articles, a balance has to be made and both articles should be taken into consideration.