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If the media, electronic or print, exceeded its jurisdiction, the courts came forward to ensure that violation of the Fundamental rights by the media does not go unchecked. The Press Council of India, which I represent here today as its Chairman, was born out of the anxiety of our constitutional fathers to ensure that democracy can flourish only where its citizens enjoy full freedom of speech and expression subject only to reasonable restrictions.


The press is rightly covered within the ambit of Article 19 1 a even without an express mention. However, once the freedom struggle was over it was realised that a new kind of press was emerging in the post independence era whose aims and objects were undergoing fast change. The First Press Commission set up in examined the issue in depth and proposed the establishment of a Press Council as a peer body by regulate the conduct of their own brethren without any outside or governmental interference. Similar bodies were functional in several other democracies, but these were primarily voluntary organisations.

In India , it was deemed more appropriate to give the Council the statutory backing affording due weightage of its adjudications and pronouncements. The Press Council of India has since functioned like a Court of Honour, guiding the print media along the path of ethical conduct and at the same time protecting it from any onslaught on its freedom. The Press Council also functions as an advisory body to the government on matters affecting press freedom and has rendered valuable advise on several legislations. These cover the areas of libel, invasion of privacy, right to information, parliamentary privileges, Prevention of Terrorist Activities, Official Secrets, and many more.

Similarly, the Council has drawn up a set of norms on media reporting on court proceedings. It will be appropriate to refer to them in detail here. But it shall not publish anything : -. Nor shall they scandalize the court or the judiciary as a whole, or make personal allegations of lack of ability or integrity against a judge. Before publishing a news item about court proceedings, it will be appropriate for the correspondent and editor to ascertain its genuineness and, correctness and authenticity from the records so that the concerned person can be held guilty and accountable for furnishing incorrect facts or wrong information about the court proceedings.

A lot remains to be done to ensure that two of the strongest pillars of our democracy i. The following are the principles drawn up at the meet. Freedom of the media, which is an integral part of freedom of expression, is essential in a democratic society. It is the responsibility of judges to recognise and give effect to freedom of the media by applying a basic presumption in their favour and by permitting only such restrictions on freedom of the media as are authorised by the International Covenant in Civil and Political Rights "International Covenant" and are specified in precise laws.

The media have an obligation to respect the rights of individuals, protected by the International Covenant, and the independence of the judiciary. These principles are drafted as minimum standards and may not be used to detract from existing higher standards of protection of the freedom of expression.

Laws may restrict the basic principle in relation to criminal proceedings in the interest of the administration of justice to the extent necessary in a democratic society. Where a restriction of the basic principle is sought on the ground of national security, this should not jeopardise the right of the parties, including the rights of the defence. A Freedom of Press is also recognized by the American Constitution. Initially, the freedom of press was not expressly provided in the American Constitution.

The freedom of press was inserted only after the First Amendment of the American Constitution. The Amendment prohibited the U. Congress from making laws which infringes the freedom of press. The First Amendment of the U. Constitution was influenced by the Virginian Declaration of Rights. The Parliament is sovereign in the United Kingdom.

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Unlike, the U. The freedom of press is also well recognized in the U. The citizens have full liberty to do anything up to the extent that it does not violate the rule of common law or statute law. The courts have duty to uphold the freedom of press and invalidate all laws and administrative actions that abridge that freedom. Freedom of press has three essential elements.

They are: 1. Freedom of publication, and 3. Freedom of circulation.

The freedom to press “send”-time to make it count

There are many instances when the freedom of press has been suppressed by the legislature. Similarly, in Bennett Coleman and Co. Limitations of this right shall be allowed only by court decision. The collection, keeping, use and dissemination of information about the private life of a person shall not be allowed without his or her consent.

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The bodies of state authority and local self-government, their officials shall ensure for everyone the possibility of acquainting with the documents and materials directly affecting his or her rights and freedoms, unless otherwise provided for by law. The home shall be inviolable. No one shall have the right to get into a house against the will of those living there, except for the cases established by a federal law or by court decision.

Everyone shall have the right to determine and indicate his nationality. No one may be forced to determine and indicate his or her nationality.


Everyone shall have the right to use his or her native language, to a free choice of the language of communication, upbringing, education and creative work. Every who legally stays in the territory of the Russian Federation shall have the right to free travel, choice of place of stay or residence.

Everyone may freely leave the Russian Federation. Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to freely return to the Russian Federation. Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or together with other any religion or to profess no religion at all, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious and other views and act according to them. The propaganda or agitation instigating social, racial, national or religious hatred and strife shall not be allowed. The propaganda of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic supremacy shall be banned.

Everyone shall have the right to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information by any legal way.

Political Science

The list of data comprising state secrets shall be determined by a federal law. Everyone shall have the right to association, including the right to create trade unions for the protection of his or her interests. The freedom of activity of public association shall be guaranteed. Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, hold rallies, meetings and demonstrations, marches and pickets. Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to participate in managing state affairs both directly and through their representatives.

Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to elect and be elected to state bodies of power and local self-government bodies, and also to participate in referenda.


Deprived of the right to elect and be elected shall be citizens recognized by court as legally unfit, as well as citizens kept in places of confinement by a court sentence. Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to address personally, as well as to submit individual and collective appeals to state organs and local self-government bodies.

Everyone shall have the right to a free use of his abilities and property for entrepreneurial and economic activities not prohibited by law. Everyone shall have the right to have property, possess, use and dispose of it both personally and jointly with other people. No one may be deprived of property otherwise than by a court decision.

Forced confiscation of property for state needs may be carried out only on the proviso of preliminary and complete compensation. Possession, utilization and disposal of land and other natural resources shall be exercised by the owners freely, if it is not detrimental to the environment and does not violate the rights and lawful interests of other people. Labour is free. Everyone shall have the right to freely use his labour capabilities, to choose the type of activity and profession. Everyone shall have the right to labour conditions meeting the safety and hygienic requirements, for labour remuneration without any discrimination whatsoever and not lower than minimum wages and salaries established by the federal law, as well as the right to protection against unemployment.

Recognition shall be given to the right to individual and collective labour disputes with the use of methods of their adjustment fixed by the federal law, including the right to strike.

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Everyone shall have the right to rest and license. Those working by labour contracts shall be guaranteed the fixed duration of the working time, days off and holidays, and the annual paid leave established by the federal law. Everyone shall be guaranteed social security at the expense of the State in old age, in case of an illness, disableness, loss of the bread-winner, for upbringing of children and in other cases established by law.

Promotion shall be given to voluntary social insurance and the creation of additional forms of social security and charity. Everyone shall have the right to a home. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of his or her home.