Attacking media is threatening citizens’ rights, says Hamid Ansari

New Delhi: Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, on Monday, During a launch of National Herald’s commemorative publication – “70 years of India’s Independence” said a free media is not only beneficial but also a necessity in a free society. Additionally attacking it is threatening the citizens’ rights.

Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who was also present at the function, said the State should not hinder the free flow of information, TH reported.

Vice President also said: “The media, if it is to remain true to its calling, has to do likewise. In an open society like ours, we need a responsible press to hold power to account. This is why freedom of the press under Article 19 (1)(A) of the Constitution is subject only to reasonable restrictions in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, public order, decency, contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence.”

The Supreme Court has kept ‘freedom of speech and of the press is the Ark of the Covenant of Democracy’ as public criticism is crucial for institutional work.

“we would do well to recall Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of the press playing its role of a watchdog in democracy and look at the ethos and principles that powered his journalism,” he added.

Highlighting on the Freedom of Media, Mr Ansari also mentioned Nehru, who had started National Herald newspaper, believed that media was a pillar of democracy.

“Nehru watched over the interests of media persons in independent India, the Working Journalists Act, which tried to give a degree of protection to journalists, to ensure freedom of the press, was largely Nehru’s doing. However, the Act, I believe, is now in disuse, and short term contracts, that make journalists beholden to the ‘preferred lines’ of the publications, are in vogue,” he stated.