paper, education, freedom of the press

An Account On the freedom of press in India


James D. Wolfensen the former president of World Bank said-
“A free press is not a luxury. A free press is at the absolute core of equitable development, because if you cannot enfranchise poor people, if they do not have a right to expression, if there is no searchlight on corruption and inequitable practices, you cannot build the public consensus needed to bring about change”

The strength and importance of media in a democracy is well recognized. Article 19(1)(a)1 of the Indian Constitution, which gives freedom of speech and expression includes within its scope, freedom of press. The existence of a free, independent and powerful media is the foundation of a democracy, especially in such a highly mixed society like India. Media is not only a medium to express o feelings, opinions and views, but it is also responsible for building opinions and views on various topics of national, international and regional importance. The prominent role of the media is its ability to mobilize and impact the thinking process of millions of people . But the current scenario is far away from the expectations , many journalists are being killed because of their work like an Arabian journalist named Jamal Khashoggi and a journalist from Bangalore named Gauri Lankesh and many more.

The Reports of without Borders (2016) stated that India ranked at 133th out of 180 countries and in 2018 it dropped to 138th out of 180 countries .A Bangalore based activist named Gauri Lankesh and three other journalists were killed for their work in March 2018. Kashmiri journalists working for the local media outlets are often the soft target of violence by the soldiers. Shujaat Bhukari, the editor of newspaper Rising Kashmir, was shot dead on June 14, 2018 due to his work. There has been increase in the police attacks and violence by armed forces and politic activists in Jammu and Kashmir. Sandeep Sharma who was investigating on the illegal sand mining was crushed to death in Madhya Pradesh on March 26, 2018. On June 22, 2018, Satyendra Gangwar was shot and wounded by mining mafia, which he was investigating (Reporters without Border, 2018)

The threats are not only for men journalists but also for women journalists because of their work. When the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was opened in October, 2018 after supreme court lifted the ban for entry of women of all age group, the women journalists attempted to enter temple and cover news were attacked by the Hindu fundamentalist protesters. Pooja Prasanna a Republic TV reporter’s car was attacked by an incited crowd in a pilgrimage route towards temple and later Mausami Singh was brutally treated, dragged and repeatedly slapped (Reporters without Border, 2018). Hence larger numbers of journalists that are killed.

Broadly,there are two types of threats that journalists face that is direct and indirect.
Direct threats involve communication without any intermediaries, usually through text messages, calls or electronic mails. While indirect threats involve the militants warning reporters about their work.The threats the journalist deals with are death threats over telephonic communication or meeting in person which put their lifes into risk. The attacks also include kidnapping, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture, and also restricting the exercise of freedom and access to information. The advent of digital platforms has given opportunities to practice the freedom of expression and practice journalism. However, they face threats through e-mails or threatening them on their posts whenever they report on politics, corruption or crimes. There are harassments including public shaming, cyber bulling, trolling or cyber stalking.

The press freedom is at lowest in 2013 since 1996, when Freedom House began incorporating population data into the findings of the report. There was 14% of the population that had freedom. This record was obtained by analyzing the freedom in 197 countries and territories (Freedom House, 2014). There was decline to 13% in the Freedom of the Press 2017 with a total of 61 countries (31 %) were rated free‟, 72 countries (36 %) were rated partly free and 66 countries (33 %) were rated not free. This was analyzed with freedom in 199 countries and territories. According to Reporters without Borders (2018), India was ranked 138th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2018. The rank is decreasing year by year like in 2016 it was 133th and in 2017 it was 136th . This indicates that the freedom of press is decreasing which means no freedom for the journalists and increase in the threats for them.


2.1 Zafreena Begum (2013) in her Press freedom in India says Legal Study explores how the press started and why it is needed in the country. The author through content analysis states that freedom means no restrictions and freedom of press is the right to print and publish without any interference of state. Freedom of press is essential for the democracy of the country and it is regarded as “the mother of all other liberties in the democratic world”. She discusses on the beginning of the struggle for freedom in India, its legal background, reasonable restriction and provides recommendation for freedom of the press.

2.2 Amanollah Tamandehrou (2014) in Freedom of press in a democratic society- the case of India analyzes the freedom of the press in India and the threats that are faced by the journalists when they are performing their duty. Independent reporting by journalists leads to attack on them like arrest, murder, fine, imprisonment or even kidnapping by the government or any high authority. The journalist of a newspaper is implicated by the police authority or any higher authority to fabricate his critical writing and raids in the newspaper office by unruly mobs are intended to interfere in the freedom of press.

2.3 Furquan Ameen Siddiqui, 2017 analyzes how it has become difficult for the journalists to report in the country. The author through the survey highlights the picture of the journalists being killed because of the work. Referring to Committee to Protect Journalists, he states that there are 75 journalists which are killed since 1992 to 2017. The stories about politics and corruption are the fatal consequences.

. 2.4 According to Geeta Seshu, “the current political environment, irrespective of the party in power, is responsible for the impunity with which these attacks take place” (cited in Siddiqui, 2017, p.14). Gauri Lankesh, a famous journalist, in her writing criticizes the right wing Hindu nationalist and due to which they killed her in 2017. Narendra Yadav, Jagendra Singh, Samiuddin Neelu, Rajdev Ranjan, Karun Misra, are a few names of journalists who have either been a first-hand witness to threats or were killed for investigating and writing about corruption on topics ranging from the state machinery, police officials to mining, gambling and religion. The author recommends that the Press Council, an independent body for the journalists, should help the journalists and strengthen the press association in the country. There should be law to protect the journalists whenever they are reporting.

2.5 Sarah Elliott, Mona Elbahtimy and Sharath Srinivasan (2012) in Threats to the Right to Life of Journalists study the safety of journalists. The authors through the content analysis focus on the threats faced by the journalists and reasons behind it and how legal and non-legal frameworks can protect the journalists.

2.6 Masudul Biswas (2009) in media freedom, governance and civil society studies the influence of media freedom in the civil society and how it affects the governance of the society and also sees that democratic country also influence the media freedom in the country. The existence of active civil society and control corrupt goes parallel to the freedom of press.


The statement of problems for this study mainly concerns with the issue that right to freedom of press is taken away from journalists, especially when they report on the politics, corruption or politics. It also includes what can be the possible solutions for this problem.


1.To emphasize on the necessity of security and freedom for journalists.

2.To bring attention to the deteriorating situations of journalists in the country

3.To bring limelight on journalists, those who speak truth about corruption or politics.

4.To bring the right to protect journalists from threat and enables them to collect information and express their views.

5.To focus on the threats faced by the journalists on their reporting


1.There is no freedom and security for journalists.

2.There is deterioration in the situation of freedom of journalists in India.

3.There are threats faced by journalists that risk their life.

4.Laws pertaining to the press freedom are not enough.


I have done a Doctrinal Research where the secondary sources of informations are relied upon like books, articles, research papers etc.


The safety of journalists is still a major concern across all the regions and there has been increase in the killings of journalists. At the same time there has been increase in the abduction, torture and harassment of the journalists with more for women journalists in online harassment . The meaning that the freedom of press exists is that it is there within the brackets of restrictions . But from the above analysis we observed that there are always restrictions. Murders of journalists engaged in reporting of crime and politics is usually in the non-conflict area. Depending on the beat they cover, different challenges are thrown at them. Politicians, police, corporate houses, police, businessman or mafia are threat for the journalists. To safeguard the journalists there ought to be wider institutional and legitimate systems must be heartily implemented and brought into play if columnists later on, just as those on hazardous assignments in the present, are to be appropriately perceived and protected in universal law, varying levels of administration and inside common society.


1. House (2017). Freedom of the press 2017. Washington, D.C., U.S.: Freedom House.

2. Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Censorship, International Press Institute & Reporters without Borders (2018, May). International Press Freedom Mission to the United States. United Kingdom: Free World Centre.

3. BBC (2017, September). Gauri Lankesh: Indian journalist shot dead in Bangalore. London: United Kingdom

4. www.

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6. Dr. JN Pandey, constitutional law of India, 44th edition, 2007, central law agency, Allahabad.

7. Dr. Madabhusi Sriddhar, The law of expression, 1st edition, 2007, Asia Law house, Hyderabad. 6. H.M. Seervai, constitutional law of India, 4th edition, 2007, universal law publishing company, New Delhi.

8. www.britannica .com

9.Author :