Unseen Passage: Press – A Pillar of Democracy

The press is a pillar of democracy. In a democracy every man is entitled to form and express his own opinion. The daily press is a convenient vehicle through which he can voice it.

The press is an educator. It creates and moulds public opinion. It voices public demands and ventilates public grievances. It safeguards people’s rights and interests. It raises its powerful voice against any attempted invasion of people’s rights and liberties. It acts as a check on the vagaries of men placed in high position. It exposes immoral, inefficient and corrupt officials. It is the champion of all good and noble causes.

By criticising the actions and lapses of the Government officials, it gives a healthy tone to the administration. Naturally the Government of a country cannot ignore the press. It cannot treat its view with disrespect.

Such being the character of the function of the press, it is obvious that it should be allowed a large measure of freedom. If rigid restrictions are placed on the publication of news of expression of views, the press cannot perform its duties faithfully and fearlessly.

Freedom from Government control does not, however, mean complete freedom for the press. That is because there are newspapers which are either party papers or are owned or controlled by big business magnates. They have to echo ‘their master’s voice’. They have to present news and views only in accordance with the policy of the party or the wishes of the press baron (master). They indulge in one-sided propaganda. They suppress or distort the truth. They give coloured version of reality.

In the USA and some other countries freedom of the press is guaranteed under their Constitution. Under our Constitution this freedom is implicit in the ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’ granted to every citizen as one of his fundamental rights. In countries under the iron heels of a dictator, freedom of the press is practically non-existent.

Freedom of the press, like all other freedoms, carries with it certain obligations. Publication of correct news is one of them. Avoidance of mischievous or malafide criticism of the Government is another. The idea is that liberty should not degenerate into license. The press should use the great power, which it possesses, with due restraint and judgment. It is equally the duty of the people who patronise it to exercise a healthy check upon the conduct of the press. They should teach it a lesson whenever they find that its power is being used against their interests. That they can do withholding their patronage.

In India, the press is free. We hope that it will place before itself the high ideal of serving the interest of public and will conduct itself in a spirit of independence, without bearing for anybody’s fear of favour.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions:

  1. What are the different advantages of press?
  2. Why cannot the government ignore press?
  3. In what conditions can press not perform its duties well?
  4. Does freedom of press carry with it certain obligation? If yes then specify.
  5. The synonym of ‘advocacy’ as given in para 5 is __________.
    1. license
    2. news
    3. propaganda
    4. judgement
  6. The synonym of ‘incorporated’ as given in para 6 is __________.
  7. The antonym of ‘freedoms’ as given in para 4 i ___________.
    1. function
    2. press
    3. restrictions
    4. fearlessly
  8. The antonym of ‘reveal’ as given in para is 5 __________.

Answer

  1. Press is actually a pillar of democracy. It creates and moulds public opinion. It voices public demands and ventilates, public grievances. It safeguards people’s rights and liberties. It exposes immoral, inefficient and corrupt officials.
  2. By criticizing the actions and lapses of government officials press creates a healthy tone to the administration. Therefore government cannot ignore the press.
  3. If rigid restrictions are placed on the publications of news and expression of views, press cannot perform its duties fearlessly and faithfully.
  4. Yes, freedom of press carries with it certain obligations. Publication of correct news is one of them. Avoidance of mischieveous or malafide criticism is the other.
  5. propaganda
  6. implicit
  7. restrictions
  8. suppress

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