Freedom of Press is integral to our polity: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the media has full right to inform, circulate, criticize, advice and counsel

by exchange4media Staff
Published - May 14, 2018 8:54 AM Updated: May 14, 2018 8:54 AM

Union Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad recently stressed upon the importance of Freedom of Press saying that "it is integral to our polity; in the freedom struggle it was a partner in arms duly recognised by the Constitution and reinforced by Judiciary in series of judgements."

Prasad said that while  the media has full right to inform, circulate, criticize, advice and counsel, its rights under the Constitution are also subject to reasonable restrictions.

On misuse of data, the Minister said that India will not allow itself to become a centre of data pilferage, and that data commerce through collusive methods cannot be used to influence its electoral process.

“All the online companies which are in the business of data commerce must understand the nuances of accountability. Accountability is integral to democracy and all institutions – the Government, the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Media – have to adhere to this principle,” he said. 

The Minister wondered whether the media today, under the garb of sensationalism, paid news, fake news, too much of other insidious practices is addressing this large issue, making it a matter of debate.

Supporting the principle of self-regulation by the media, Prasad said that the IT act mandates that the content going through the intermediary is not dangerous, libellous and does not impinge upon the security and integrity of the country nor should it encroach upon the copyrights.

Dwelling on the challenges of social media, Prasad said that the Government is
committed to the freedom of press but there is a need to segregate the real from the
dangerous and that while the Government respects social media as it empowers the common man, the language used sometimes in this medium is a cause of concern.

It should be noted that in the latest World Press Freedom Index India secured 138th rank, 2 ranks below than last year.

“Hate speech targeting journalists is shared and amplified on social networks, often by troll armies in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pay,” read the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Prasad was speaking at the recently concluded Asia Media Summit in New Delhi.

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