CJI DY Chandrachud?s views on Press

CJI DY Chandrachud’s views on Press

News: Recently, CJI delivered his speech at 16th Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards. Some of his views on Freedom of Press, the challenges it faces and it’s role as 4th pillar in Democracy are important.

Role of Media:
 Journalists are constantly engaged in the endeavour of simplifying complex information for the consumption of the public, which is frequently unaware of even the most basic facts underlying the issues sought to be exposed.
 The media has always played and continues to play an important role in shaping the course of current events, and by extension, the course of history itself. For example, In India, the media’s coverage of the rape of Jyoti, or Nirbhaya, by certain men in Delhi resulted in widespread protests and later, in reforms to criminal law.
 Even on a day-to-day basis, some news stories prompt questions and discussion in Parliament and in the legislative assemblies of states.
 The media is the fourth pillar in the conception of the State, and thus an integral component of democracy. The vibrancy of democracy is compromised when the press is prevented from speaking truth to power.
 India has a great legacy of newspapers that have acted as catalysts of social and political change. For instance, Dr. Ambedkar launched several newspapers such as Mooknayak, Bahishkrut Bharat, Janata, and Prabuddha Bharat to create awareness about the rights of the most neglected communities in India.
 The newspapers have also acted as a source of history, knowledge, facts about our colonial pasts and how courageous men and women fought fiercely against colonial rulers.
 Technology has evolved and so has the influence and opportunities for media. Now, online platforms have led to the democratization of media.
 Community journalism has also thrived recently. It has played an important role in encouraging social cohesion and political activism.
 The relevance of the media was best highlighted during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. Electronic, print and social media facilitated the State to disseminate relevant information to the general public at large even during the lockdown.

Challenges faced in Journalism:
 Fake news poses a serious threat to the independence and impartiality of the press in the current society. A comprehensive fact-checking mechanism should be in place to verify all news items before reporting. Fake news can misguide millions of people at once, and this will be in direct contradiction with the fundamentals of democracy which form the bedrock of our existence.
 Another issue affecting the media is that of legitimacy. A diverse and representative newsroom is essential for media institutions to provide well-researched and complex stories that explore a multiplicity of perspectives and voices. Maintaining a diverse workforce is imperative for the longevity of any media platform.
 Lastly, another issue that has percolated our system is trial by media. There have been instances when the media has carried narratives that make a person guilty in the eyes of the public, even before the court finds them guilty. This can have long-lasting repercussions on the life of the affected individuals, as well as on due process.

 Responsible journalism is the beacon of truth that can guide us to a better tomorrow. It is the engine that drives democracy forward, based on the quest for truth, justice, and equality. 

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