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Media In India - Functions | Freedom Of Press | Importance | Basic Laws



Media in India is mostly self-regulated. The existing bodies for regulation of media such as the Press Council of India which is a statutory body and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, a self-regulatory organization, issue standards which are more in the nature of guidelines.


The functions of the PCI include among others (i) helping newspapers maintain their independence; (ii) build a code of conduct for journalists and news agencies; (iii) help maintain “high standards of public taste” and foster responsibility among citizens; and (iv) review developments likely to restrict flow of news.


Freedom of press is not specifically mentioned in article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution and what is mentioned there is only freedom of speech and expression. In the Constituent Assembly Debates it was made clear by Dr. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, that no special mention of the freedom of press was necessary at all as the press and an an individual or a citizen were the same as far as their right of expression was concerned.


Media act as an influential and instrumental tool with regards to building confidence or promoting mistrust among people on issues related to national security.

Technology has endowed the electronic media with three major attributes -

i) Instantaneity: Instantaneity has provided it with a ringside view in real time,

ii) Spontaneity: Spontaneity has allowed it cover events as they unfold

iii) Locality: Locality has provided it with the power to bring the farthest corner of the globe into a household.


In 1860 Indian Penal Code was passed as a general law but laid down offences which any writer, editor or publisher must avoid - the offences of defamation and obscenity. The next important event in the field of media laws was the enactment of the Press and Registration of Books Act.


In 2006 the government had prepared a Draft Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2006. The Bill made it mandatory to seek license for broadcasting any television or radio channel or program. It also provides standards for regulation of content. It is the duty of the body to ensure compliance with guidelines issued under the Bill.

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