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The government and the media

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14.09.2017

With great powers – comes the need for common sense

The constitutional provision for freedom of expression and media is in consonance with the internationally recognised role of the states to regulate all the entities within its territorial limits in such a way that they contribute to the strengthening of the state, its ideological moorings, national interests and the moral values of the society with a view to promote peace and tranquillity in the country. In fact there is no concept of unbridled media freedom in the world and rightly so. Media represents the society and consequently is regarded as the fourth pillar of the state. It is universally recognised that freedom comes with responsibility. The media in any state has to exhibit sense of responsibility while enjoying its freedom.

The Social Responsibility Theory propounded by Dr Robert Maynard Hutchison, Vice Chancellor of Chicago University who headed Hutchison Commission formed in US in 1942 to make recommendations on the freedom of expression and media’s obligations towards the society— in the backdrop of growing calls by the US public for government intervention to check the indiscretions of the media and attempts by the media to avoid incisive government regulation— remarked “freedom comes with responsibility:

The report of the Commission submitted in 1947, is regarded as the Magna Carte of the modern concept of freedom of expression and media’s responsibilities towards the society. It unequivocally emphasised the need for media to provide accurate, truthful and comprehensive........

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