The 'News' is an integral part of life in the 21st century.There is no universal definition of the term 'News'.Due to advancement of technologies that lead to the spread of new avenues of sharing of news i.e T.V ,Radio,Internet.The students of Journalism -Mass communication might be very familiar with Media.The word 'media' comes from Latin word 'medium' which in singular form means ,method or way of doing some thing ,in the plural form ,media in modern context ,signifies ways or means of communication .The word 'media' wider connotation, it includes both news paper[news paper,magazines&books] , Electronic media[radio,T.V,cable satellite ],audio visual media[film,audio cassette &video].To regulate the media ,various acts/provisions of law were enacted by all countries known as Media laws to regulate the media and ensure that they function under legal parameters.
- First Press Regulation was in 1799 by Lord Wellesley
- The government passed the ‘Gagging Act’ in the year 1857,
- The ‘Press and Registration of Books Act’ in 1867
- The ‘Vernacular Press Act’ of 1878 by Governor General Lord Lytton
- Lord Minto promulgated the ‘Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908 in In 1908
- Article 19 ,Part-III- Fundamental Rights, Constitution of India,1950 ;expressly guarantees Freedom of Speech and Expression, The ‘freedom of press’ is an extension of the fundamental right to ‘freedom of speech and expression’ provided for under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. It is however pertinent to mention that, such freedom is not absolute but is qualified by certain clearly defined limitations under Article 19(2) in the interests of the public.
- The Press (Objectionable Matters) Act, 1951 – This enactment provides bar against the printing and publication of incitement to crime and other objectionable matters.
- The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956 – The Central Government under this statue has power to regulate the price of newspapers in relation to the number of pages and size and also to regulate the allocation of space to be allowed for advertising matter.
- Press Council Act, 1978 – Under this Act, the Press Council was reconstituted (after 1976) to maintain and improve the standards of newspaper and news agencies in India.
- Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995& Direct-to-Home Broadcasting –
- The Copyright Act, 1957
- Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and The Official Secrets Act, 1923.
- Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public Libraries) Act, 1954
- News Broadcasting Association (NBA)
Apart from that above enactments, Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are also applicable for media.
We need to balance between Freedom of Press and Fair trial ,so that all organs of the government function smoothly without any hindrance and interference .We should not expect our Judiciary to pronounce any one guilty or innocent merely basing on reports in press or media.This trend will bring dangerous results and untold miseries to people .The press and media has right act as checks-balance in democratic society ,but it can not intrude someone else roles and functions.