Freedom of Press | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 17th Sep 2020

You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.– Charles Buxton

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #141 :“Freedom of Press | UPSC

Freedom of Press | UPSC

Joel Simon
Freedom of Press | UPSC

Joel Simon is the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists

      HEADLINES:

Pandemic and a free press

      CENTRAL THEME:

India must return to its democratic values to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak effectively

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Media

      MAINS QUESTION:

Can India find a way to combat the virus while preserving the democratic values that define the nation? Discuss -(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • Democratic Setup of free press
  • Revamping freedom of press
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

  • India is justly proud of its position as the world’s largest democracy.
  • It is less proud of the fact that it has become a hotbed for the spread of COVID-19, with an estimated 90,000 daily infections, and over 5 million cases overall.

      BODY: 

LARGEST DEMOCRACY

  • HEART OF DEMOCRACY : At the heart of any democracy is an informed citizenry that is empowered to make decisions and hold its government accountable.
  • FOURTH PILLAR OF DEMOCRACY : There is nothing more essential to a democracy than a free press.
  • INFORMATION HOUSE : It is not merely the means through which citizens gather information.
  • STAGE : It is the vehicle through which ideas are debated, policies are formulated, and conflicts are resolved.

Yet, India’s press freedom record has seen a decline in recent years.

  • RARELY CONVICTED : Violent attacks against journalists, including murder, are surprisingly common in India and rarely punished.
  • LEGAL PROSECUTION : Prosecution is also rife, particularly against journalists reporting on the conflict in Kashmir.

ONLY OFFICIAL VERSIONS

  • NEGATIVE TRENDS : These negative trends have only intensified since the COVID-19 outbreak, with journalists across the country facing attacks, harassment, and arrests.
  • NATIONWIDE CENSORSHIP : The Supreme Court denied that request of nationwide censorship , but it did direct the media to refer to the “official version” of events when covering the pandemic .
  • MISINFORMATION : Indian society has have a legitimate concern about the ways in which the spread of false or misleading information can undermine efforts to fight the pandemic.

The damage to the Indian economy has inflicted tremendous pain on families across the nation.

  • TOOLS AND A PLAN : This means presenting a clear and credible plan to the people for tackling COVID-19, and using persuasion, arguments, evidence and reason to rally their support.
  • FUELLING GROWTH : It means unleashing the innovation and entrepreneurship of the Indian business community that has fuelled the country’s rapid growth.
  • DEBATE AND DISCUSSION : It means encouraging debate and competition of ideas that drive political solutions.

This means combating misinformation through aggressive public information campaigns, not raw censorship. 

      IASbhai Windup: 

  • The democratic world is rooting for India’s success.
  • CHINESE CENSORSHIP : Chinese government has used its propaganda networks to cover up its initial failures and shape global perceptions.
  • STATE SURVEILLANCE : Even in democracies, citizens are beginning to wonder if liberty and freedom must be sacrificed to fight the disease.
  • LEADERSHIP : India has long been a leader and an example in the democratic world, but its response to the pandemic has weakened its position.

In order to restore its lustre, India needs to express confidence in democratic principles.That starts with a commitment to a free press.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Freedom of Press | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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