IS FREEDOM OF PRESS ENDANGERED IN MODERN INDIA?

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 11/27/2020 6:55:42 PM

KINSHUK SAFAYA
India being a democracy and the largest one at that has always been a point of elaborate questioning, discussions, MUN's and debates, et all; not just in the Indian sub-continent but wide across the Western countries ranging from the colonies to the ones who had colonized them for centuries put together. It is nothing more but interesting to note that the struggle for freedom did not end right after India was a "Free State". It was and will always be taken into consideration with a broader perspective of the world diplomacies. Having said that, the Freedom of Press is an attribute that should be fundamental, uncensored and also not restricted as much since primitive ideas, as foolproof as they may sound, do not transcribe themselves onto the ground level. hence, it gets important to change or at the very least alter, tweak or in fact modify the pre existing methods and techniques of journalism. This is not to say or justify the new pseudo-journalism that we recently encountered where certain journalists kept running behind certain accused (for whatever crime they "supposedly committed in the eyes of Whatsapp university Judges") confronting them to answer certain questions that they were clearly not interested in answering. "Remember, remember, the 5th of November. The gun powder treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the gun powder treason, should ever, be, forgot." ~ Movie V for Vendetta (December 2005) On May 11, 2020, Dhaval Patel, editor of the Gujarati news portal Face of Nation, was detained and booked with sedition for writing about the change in Gujarat’s political leadership by the BJP after the state’s rapid rise of COVID-19 cases. Similarly, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) writes that the Uttar Pradesh administration filed an FIR against journalist Ravindra Saxena from Today- 24 on May 18 for reporting on the mismanagement and negligence at a quarantine center in Sitapur district. As per the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2019 Global Impunity Index. India has been on the Indian state ranks on the 13th of the index for the last 12 years. Now this sure does not sound very appealing for the largest democracy with a free press, does it? Truth be told, the Freedom of Press is there just in theory and not actually at the ground level as it ideally should be. Considering the same, one should look to tread carefully even if the press is given a free hand according to the laws put forth and all the judicial representation. The major killer sting for all the "free minded and assertive" who know how and when to put their foot down in times of crisis is the UAPA act that endangers them and subsequently the Freedom of Press in India.

 

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