Freedom of the press or media refers to the rights given by the Indian Constitution to independent journalism and it promotes Indian democracy by giving people the freedom of speech and expression. It is a necessity in a vast and diverse country like India since the multiple communities that live together deserve a chance to be heard by all. The media acts as a voice for the thoughts and ideas of the people of India to be heard by people in power.
Although in recent years we have made progress comparing our situation to earlier times, the state of the country today is still stuck in a position where we cannot say that journalism and the press have complete freedom in the country. There are problems of fake news and biased media, and crimes against individual journalists are at an all-time high.
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Gandhi in the US
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on a six-day visit to the United States. During his stay, he addressed the National Press Club in Washington DC, expressing his worries regarding the state of journalism and press freedom in India. He emphasized the vital role of press freedom in maintaining a properly functioning democracy and highlighted the significance of being receptive to criticism. Gandhi claimed that there has been an increase in restrictions imposed on the institutional framework that influences the national conversation in India.
He claims that there is an evident weakness of press freedom in India and the rest of the world can see it too. Press freedom, he claims, is extremely necessary for a democracy. He says that one should be open to criticism and in India, there is a clampdown on how India as a country, should talk and Indian people negotiate. He says he views India as a negotiation between its people, between different cultures, languages, and histories.
He expressed that the Indian citizens he had engaged with appeared dissatisfied with the condition of the nation and discussed issues like inflation. He condemned PM Modi, asserting that certain individuals in India suffer from the “affliction” of presuming to possess complete knowledge.
He continued that Mahatma Gandhi set up the framework to enable that negotiation fairly and freely, and this structure that allows the press to exist freely is coming under pressure. He spoke about the scenario of democracy collapsing in India, and how the consequences would have affected India. Even though, in American relevance, it would not affect their national interest specifically he spoke about the effects it would have on India’s internal affairs and the world.
He told reporters that it is their job, their business and it’s their work to fight the battle for democracy in India. He also mentioned that it is possible that a problem in the Indian democracy has an impact on the world as a whole, and so everyone should think about how Indian democracy holds value to them.
Being in the US, he also spoke of India’s strategic ties with the US and said that there is a need for them to expand their relationships with one another, without it causing a strain on their defense.