Daily Post 1473
SPECIAL RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH
It’s media all around the place, in ways and means the framers of the constitution would not have even imagined. Freedom of press is not specifically mentioned in article 19 (1)(a) of the Indian constitution. It is subsumed in the right to freedom of speech and expression. The way they have spread their wide wings gives us a feeling that they are especially constitutionally mandated to perform the task, in the manner they do. ”In the Constituent Assembly Debates it was made clear by Dr. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, that no special mention of the freedom of press was necessary,” and an individual or a citizen were the same as far as their right of expression was concerned.
Suffice to say that the media enjoys precisely the same rights as we do. Imagine their stance, operations and their demeanour in the last couple of months, does it anyway give you a feeling that you can also behave in the same manner. Chasing, forcing, curtailing movement / access of individuals, flouting COVID-19 norms, knocking car windows, using camera zooms, flouting privacy, shouting, passing judgements recklessly etc makes us believe they are seeing a different article in 19(1)(a) of the Indian constitution. If you and me were to behave in the same manner how long would the world tolerate? Another pertinent question is, if they are meted with the same behaviour, will they be fine with it?
Nobody would have even imagined then as to what would be media landscape in 2020. Print and publishing were the final tools of taking news to the masses. And news was news then. Multimedia blitzkrieg technology has taken over the world in the name of media. Rupert Murdock was once called as The Man Who Owns the News, was nothing compared to the shenanigans of today. He had to face a huge embarrassment in the News of the World case and finally the tabloid had to be shut down. The last issue sold 8 million. Now from Fox News to other channels of such tenor rule the airwaves. While individuals on a regular basis, face the wrath of the law enforcement agencies for any deviant public platform behaviour, institutional media is beyond bounds.
Crying foul at the drop of the hat on any attempt to streamline, is their biggest trademark. With audience role being only to provide the TRP, it is a no holds barred battle between themselves, each proving that they are prime mover to usher in media level playing field. They have picked up the art of picking up bits and pieces and churn out a sensational media story and keep hanging on to it, endlessly. Giving false evidence is a crime and taking the world for ride is not. Defamation is a misnomer. The media now is out to bring public officials, public offices and even well established institutions to disrepute. Only they are saviours. Its not the same like the Pandu havaldar story of the Bollywood fame. It has firepower which is used for its exponential growth. It advertises for itself. At what expense for the nation, only time will tell?
HAS RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH CREATED FREE DEMOCRATIC THINKING?