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Rights of Media and Press, and its legitimacy

Why in the News

The Munsiff court at Srinagar held that accused has fundamental rights and Media’s freedom of speech not greater than rights of an individual.

The court further stated that even an accused person is entitled to fundamental rights and there is no difference between the fundamental rights of an accused and a normal person.

“The media has the fundamental right of free speech and expression however, the said right is not greater than the rights of an individual. It is the legally bounden duty of the court to protect the fundamental as well as the legal rights of the parties and in the instant case the fundamental and legal rights of the plaintiff. Every person has a right to life and personal liberty and this right includes life with human dignity and in case any person is defamed or any derogatory statement is made against him that results in violation of fundamental rights,” judge Shabir Ahmad Malik said.

Rights of Media and Press

The Constitution of India does not provide freedom to the media separately. But there is an indirect provision for media freedom. It derives from Article 19 (1) (a). This Article guarantees freedom of expression and expression.

Freedom of speech and expression under Article19(1)(a) of the press also covers the right to criticize the government as well as the right to hold unpopular or unconventional views.

Newspapers and members of the press are prosecuted under the law for critiquing persons. If the criticism was made in good faith or related to a matter of serious public interest, it would not be an act of defamation.

Freedom of speech and expression not only has the right to express, publish and promote information through expression, but also the right to receive information. Indian citizens, including the press, have the right to seek information from public bodies through the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The right to circulate the press also includes the freedom to decide the amount of circulation. This right can be restricted only when it goes against the appropriate restrictions given in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India which includes protection of the state, public order etc.

Journalists have the right to participate in court proceedings and to publish a faithful report of the proceedings heard in court. Courts also have the power to prohibit the promotion of proceedings in the interest of justice.

Fundamental Rights

The Fundamental Rights, embodied in Part III of the Constitution, guarantee civil rights to all Indians, and prevent the state from encroaching the liberty of an individual, while at the same time binding the rights of citizens from encroachment by society.

There are Six fundamental rights which were originally provided by the Constitution – the right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights and right to constitutional remedies.

Right to Equality

It is embodied in Articles 14–16, which collectively incorporate the law and non-discrimination [33] and general principles of equality before Articles 17–18 which collectively incorporate the philosophy of social equality.

Right to Equality include-

· Equality before Law.

· No Discrimination on the basis of Religion, Race, Caste, Sex or Place of Birth.

· Equality of Opportunity to all Citizens in matter of Public Employment.

· Abolition of Untouchability.

· Abolition of Titles.

Right to Freedom

The right to freedom is included in Articles 19 to Article 22, which are considered with a view to guaranteeing individual rights, which were considered important by the framers of the Constitution, and these articles also include some restrictions which State can impose on individual liberty under specified conditions.

Right to Freedom include-

· Freedom of speech and expression.

· Freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms.

· Freedom to form Associations and Unions.

· Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India.

· Freedom to reside and settle in any part of India.

· Freedom to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

· Protection in respect of conviction for offences.

· Protection of life and personal liberty.

· Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.

Right against Exploitation

Against the exploitation, contained in Articles 23–24, there are some provisions to prevent the exploitation of weaker sections of society by individuals or the state.

Right against Exploitation include-

· Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor.

· Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.

Right to Freedom of Religion

The right to freedom of religion, included in the Articles of 25–28, provides religious freedom to all citizens and ensures a secular state in India. According to the Constitution, there is no official state religion, and the state is required to treat all religions in a fair and neutral manner.

Right to Freedom of Religion include-

· Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.

· Freedom to manage religious affairs.

· Freedom as to the payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.

· Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions.

Cultural and Educational Right

Cultural and educational rights, given in Articles 29 and 30, are measures to protect the rights of cultural, linguistic and religious minorities to preserve their heritage and protect them against discrimination.

Cultural and Educational Right include- Click Here

· Protection of interests of minorities.

· Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.

Right to constitutional Remedies

The right to constitutional remedies gives citizens the right to approach Courts of India to seek enforcement, or protection, against violations of their fundamental rights.

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