Thursday, 23 August 2012

Media and Democracy

Role of Media in fostering Democracy
  • building a tolerant society, and help to sustain India’s plural cultural heritage. 
  • media have gradually become more gender-sensitive, increased coverage of weaker and marginalized groups, 
  • Assisted the promotion of mass participation in the political process and in decision-making, 
  • Connecting the government with the governed. 
  • Democracy implies the rule of law, and the media play an important role in the defense of the rule of law, Exposing people to diverse views and ideas and educating the public on the functioning of the democratic setup and on government policies and programmes.
  • disseminating information about government services, expenditures, laws, the rights and obligations of citizens, etc.: all are the act of providing essential information for the functioning of a healthy democracy. 
  • an antagonistic relationship between media and government represents a vital and healthy element of a fully functioning democracy. 

But the case of Manipur shows the constrains for a media working in a conflict situation. 
The media are daily pressurized by threats from various proscribed outfits to carry their press releases, while critical newspaper reports on militant operations lead to the harassment and even execution of journalists. Instead of safeguarding the media, the state government, in the name of stamping out insurgency, has sought to curb the freedom of press by seizing publications, imposing fines, arresting journalists, closing down publication houses and sometimes even imprisoning editors for criticizing the functioning of the government.
The imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has also obstructed the work of media-persons who find themselves caught between state and non-state elements, with proscribed outfits
insisting on the publication of their reports and the state banning the publication of ‘seditious’, terrorist-related news stories and ‘subversive’ literature in the interests of national integrity. In the author’s view, this invidious situation is worsened by job insecurity and the precarious working conditions of journalists, which together impact directly on press freedom and the quality of journalism

Kumbhar, Sita Ram: Media, Democracy and Development in India. Social Action 57, 4 (2007): 349-58.
Sharma, Neeru and Jagannath Ambagudia: Reflections on Media and Development: The Case of India.  Social Action 57, 4 (2007):359-67.
Thingnam, Anjulika: Media under Siege.  Media Functioning in an Armed Conflict Situation: A Case Study of Manipur. Social Action 57, 4 (2007): 382-96.

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