India, being a democratic country provides in the Constitution freedom of speech and expression. But we must remember that every right has a corresponding responsibility and no right is absolute.
In India an upright press is a great power, which influences public opinion. It helps a lot in bringing people together and in educating the people. It is therefore necessary that the press functions as a tool of awareness by providing correct, unbiased and impartial news. Therefore, it should not be lopsided or distorted. It acts as a link between the people and the government. The press must convey to the concerned authorities the grievances of the people. It should perform its duty in exact manner. So it must praise where it is due- and must condemn what needs to be condemned.
The press should be free and forthright because these are the characteristics of the press which provide credibility to it and should try to reflect the true public opinion.
It is often seen that people do complain that the press is partial, inimical and at time unpatriotic. They feel that the editorials are not objective and impartial, but coloured and motivated. Common man feels that no body listens to his grievances and he is ignored. Sometimes these accusations are right, but sometimes they do not have any ground. Therefore these accusations and complaints are not the true indications of the character of Indian Press.
Press in India has a very high tradition. Bal Gangadhar Tilak roused the wave of nationalism in the country during British rule through Kesari and Maratha, when writing against the English was considered treason. At the same time Gandhiji introduced Harijan, which brought about unprecedented awakening in the masses. These newspapers were fair objective and impartial and they refused to be blackmailed. But there are some people who have come down to a lower level for money and have lost their reputation.
By and large Indian Press is free to write anything. It has not hesitated to criticize or express even the highest personality. It has exposed a number of fraud and scandals connected with important persons. One can come across such dedicated persons who are in the profession of journalism and write with courage and have a national interest in their job. But at the same time some papers are controlled and managed by certain people who are interested in counting their money bags. But these papers are biased and never present before us the true news and opinion.
As-far-as the laws of the land are concerned, the press in India has full freedom in comparison to any other country. Even the policy of advertisement and newsprint quota allocation has not succeeded in twisting the arms of the press.
As we all know that authority and responsibility go hand-in-hand. If press is given some freedom it has to perform some duties also. These are in the field of national security, unity and integrity of nation, social peace and harmony, decency, individual privacy and good foreign relations. Without self-discipline and moral code of conduct the freedom of press will degenerate into license. The press has an important role to play and it should play its role without any curb on its freedom.