Fall Of The Independence Of Media

India, a country that is known to have one of the most successful democracies, is facing cracks in one of the four pillars that hold it up. These pillars, the legislative, executive, judiciary and media, keep our democracy standing tall. But the World Press Freedom Index has reported a fault in the fourth pillar and thus ranked India at 142nd place out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom in 2021.

Throughout the years’ journalists have reported difficulty in gaining access to government officials and have been concerned about the oppressive censorship. Agitated journalists that decide to raise their voices are greeted with intolerance and violence. Social media plays a big role in this. Nowadays, it is common to abuse, troll, or threaten someone who has different views on a topic, and journalists are the worst hit. Journalists who decide to walk against the crowd and publish material that is against the opinions of someone or exposes someone 

are walking into mortal danger 

This has been proven true since 1992 when the first journalist was killed on 27th

February. He, Bakish Tirath, worked for the Hind Samachar. To date, such infringements take place with the latest death being of Rakesh Singh in the Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh on 28th November 2020. He worked for the Rashtriya Swaroop.

Some steps have been taken to relieve these journalists of the censorship that is being imposed upon them. On 24th March 2015, the supreme court declared section 66A IT Act 2000 unconstitutional. This act prevented people from writing against any person, including big politicians, on social media. The court stated that this act “arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invalidates the right to free speech.” But despite this journalists are being threatened and killed for keeping their stand hence justifying what Martin Luther King Jr. very accurately said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. 

The fourth pillar that supports our democracy is collapsing and it’s about time we did something about it. The digital revolution is a boon that can help us get back on the right path.  The present government is also focusing on the digitalization of India so why not use it for the best. When every individual has internet access at the tip of her fingers, there is no question of any hidden details. Transparency will come on its own. But if all of these steps and decisions are not taken in unity, it will have no impact. A spark for the truth here and there will die down soon but a fire is not that simple to put out.

So here’s my question. Will you let the ways go on like they do or will you alter them? Will you pretend to not be bothered or will you speak up? Will you be a part of the silence or will you lead the change!

-Rupali Sharma

FY. BSc. Economics

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