North-Eastern Hill University
Battle of words is better than swords! As rightly pointed out by someone also indicates that expression of emotions though words may reduce the frustration through action. Freedom of Speech thereby generates a platform for one, to introduce his/her opinions and even to some extent his/her existence in the society where he/she lives. This freedom as a right somewhat emerged between 1940-45, prior to which the dictatorship regime in most of the world did not pay any concern for this right and for this reason ultimately they had to fall.
Freedom of Speech in general is a right of the public to express their conscious and opinions, freely, through words of mouth, printing process, or any other, without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, instrument of violence, slander, etc.
This freedom rightly serves four important objectives-
1. It helps an individual to attain self-fulfillment,
2. It assists in the discovery of truth,
3. It strengthens the capacity of an individual in participating in decision
4. It provides a mechanism by which it will be possible to establish a balance
between stability and social change.
Freedom of Speech is an indispensable part of democracy, for which Article 19(1)(a) of our Constitution says that all citizens shall have the freedom of Speech and Expression. The Right of Freedom of Speech is guaranteed as a fundamental right which indicates its ultimate significance. This freedom not only includes the liberty to propagate one’s views but also include the liberty to propagate other’s views and opinions. This is where the role of media comes into play. In 1975, National Emergency, the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi well realized the role of media and recognized it as the Fourth Pillar of Democracy.
This freedom strives for the liberty of publication as well as for the liberty of circulation. It helps the entire population of a country to get mobilize on a particular issue. Several social networking sites, whereby millions of views are expressed daily on multiple issues worldwide which amounts for a huge of stock of knowledge and consciousness making a step ahead for civilization. The electronic as well as print media binds the heart of people with their mind and soul.
However, if we analyze the role of media in the contemporary times, it becomes evident that in search for TRP especially the local private media tends to fall in the prejudice of glamorous factual coverage rather than the actual reality. Further, the networking sites had been used for encouraging anti-human efforts all over the world. This shows that absolute freedom of speech may led to serious disorder in the society, for which restrictions are necessary. For instance, our constitution under Article 19(2) empowers the Government to put reasonable
restrictions on the following grounds-
Security of the State; friendly relations with Foreign States; Public order; decency and morality; Contempt of Court; Defamation; Excitement to Offense; and Integrity and sovereignty of India.
Besides, the restrictions imposed by law, we as a vigilant citizen of a community shall assume the responsibility of nourishing this freedom rather than miss utilizing it to prevent vulnerability, provided such miss utilization may lead to serious deterioration of our civilization.
Picture Courtesy - Chris Slupski/ @kslupski