The media plays an important role in the 21st century. In modern economies and societies, the availability of information is pertinent and central to better decision making by citizens and consumers. Citizens require information about candidates to make intelligent voting choices in political markets while investors and consumers require information to select their products in economic and  financial markets. The availability of information is a crucial determinant of the efficiency of political, financial and economic markets and media helps to provide the same. In most countries including India, citizens and consumers receive the information they need through the media, including newspapers, television, and radio. The media serve as the intermediaries and act as a link that collects information and makes it available to citizens and consumers.

The government’s 24-hour ban on NDTV India raise some crucial questions like: How the media is optimally organized?; Are newspapers or television channels state or privately owned?; Is the media industry organized as a monopoly or is it organized competitively? because the concerned channel is considered an eloquent critic of the government. NDTV has challenged the government’s one-day ban of its Hindi channel in the Supreme Court as it was ordered off-air on Wednesday with the government accusing it of broadcasting sensitive information about January’s terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot.  However NDTV refuted the allegations and the same has been condemned by several journalists and editors also. Drawing parallels to the Emergency of 1970s they further added that the freedom of press which is one of the basic constitutional rights has been blatantly violated as the centre appears to give itself the power to intervene in the functioning of the media and take punitive action when it does not agree with the coverage. Defending the same the Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that it was “in the interest of the country’s security” and that the barrage of criticism confronted by the government appears to be “politically inspired.

Thus, the premise of the virtual world is freedom and the government, journalists and others who have a stake in freedom of expression must work together more effectively ensuring that the virtual world stays ahead. Government ownership and interference of the media is detrimental to economic, political, and most strikingly to social outcomes. Freedom of expression is a fundamental freedom guaranteed under article 19. Everyone has the right to freely express their feelings, thoughts and emotions. Thus,” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and speech; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers“. However it must be subject to certain restrictions, i.e. the government should control such communications up to a certain limit. Thus we can conclude that, media interactions has to be controlled by government but such form of control must not interfere with the fundamental right i.e. the right to freedom of speech and expression and freedom of press.

Sneh Bhimta

Student, UPES, Dehradun