19th Apr 2019 10:04:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

The annual World Press Freedom Index for 2019 has been released  on Thursday and  this time India has dropped  two places further  from  last year’s  138th  to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries. This might be a little disheartening for the warriors of the fourth estate of the country particularly because  they are now on a very sacred duty  of covering the elections, the most important  event of the world’s largest democracy.If  freedom is the alter ego of democracy, a sinking feeling is sure to visit the mind of any journalist  who might contemplate  that in spite of living in a democracy and serving it religiously, the  profession  is quite far from  enjoying  the true blessings of democracy.

In the Indian context, 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. During the initial days of the drafting of the Constitution  and after prolonged  debates, it was made clear that no special mention of the freedom of press is necessary at all, since the press and an  individual or a citizen were the same as far as their right of expression was concerned. And it hardly needs any reiteration that press is one of the pillars of the Indian democracy as it acts as a watchdog of its other three organs -legislative, executive & judiciary. Thus, to go strictly by the spirit of the country’s Constitution, it is implied that the right to freedom of speech and expression carries with it the right to publish and circulate one’s ideas, opinions and other views with complete freedom and by resorting to all available means of publication. But, the reality is far from so and one can cite a plethora of examples where  press had been subjected to severe repressions with journalists continuously harassed, physically assaulted, jailed and even murdered for exposing ‘scams’ which have a notoriety of visiting the  nation’s  socio-political eco-system time and again. 

But the Indian press fraternity, glancing at this year’s index  must not lament, thinking that the hardships are exclusively theirs. It’s a phenomena increasingly widening its wavelength all over the world and that includes the Americas & Europe.The number of countries  once regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete freedom  & security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media. The climate of fear is getting more intensified and the  hapless  journalists in most  countries  have no other option but to construe the  escalating  threats, insults and attacks as part of their ‘occupational hazards.’

It’s a decline which  will expectedly  continue further, but who cares even if it  goes on   tarnishing  the image of a democratic nation, boasting to be the biggest in world. 

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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