Media Freedom: Should there be a limit?

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Putting the way that Freedom to express is necessary but absolute freedom without check brings deformities with it, is not without substance. Media freedom is described as the freedom of various kinds of media and sources of communication to operate in political and civil society. Traditionally the propagation medium was limited to print which then was extended to television, and now internet is the latest addition in the mode of dissemination of information. 

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Why Freedom of Media is necessary?

Media is said to be the fourth pillar of democracy so it is a cornerstone for smooth functioning of a country. The free media in a country facilitates:

  • Dissemination of authentic information on public matters which otherwise is difficult to extract for a common citizen
  • Transparency in the functioning of the governing bodies, corporates or any other entity
  • Debate and opinions on issues that are of societal, economic and political importance
  • New ideas and critical thinking among citizens by stressing on facts and figures rather than presenting a lopsided view.

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Why Media should be regulated?

Freedom in any context is never absolute. Freedom of Media is essential but rising concerns of misinformation, data manipulation, fake news, populism etc. in the current environment are making authorities to place regulations on it to some extent.


Unlimited Media Freedom Harmful: The following supports the notion

  • Media many a times plays a critical role in diverting people’s attention from real issues such as unemployment, public policies, poverty etc. to unimportant issues such as personal lives of celebrities.
  • Media houses often tend to polarize people according to their ideologies. Sometimes they present a biased version of news and make people believe the same.
  • With the advent of internet and influx of online media sources, the authenticity of the provided information has become a huge issue. There should be some mechanism in place to contain the widespread of fake news, which may destabilize the socio- political environment of a country.
  •  The rise of terrorism is a growing concern among states, and as a result governments are adopting protectionist stance to avoid the leakage of sensitive information through media.
  • Under the Constitution of India, freedom of the media is part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a). However, it does not promote freedom to misinform the public. 
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Could Media be self regulated?

  • Media Freedom should be regulated or not is a debatable issue. A third thought of school is “Self – Regulated Media”.
  • The proponents of this school of thought opine that unregulated media may destabilize the socio- political environment of country and government interventions may jeopardize the freedom of expression. So, Self-regulated media is a mid-way between the two extreme methods.
  •  It is a conscious decision where the media people themselves take the onus of disseminating true and authentic information to the users.

Accordingly, where the Media does not shoulder the responsibility of bringing the truth and goes to extremes or gets biased, it is better to get it regulated – Self or by legal provisions.


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