The Role of media in a democracy by Avlin at lexcliq

Democracy means, a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. Media came into existence in 1780 with the introduction of a newspaper namely The Bengal Gazette and since then it has matured leaps and bounds. It has been playing a very important role in shaping human minds.

Media constitute the fourth pillar of democracy. The role of the media is vital in generating a democratic culture that extends beyond the political system and becomes engrained in the public consciousness over time. The media is supplying the political information that voters base their decisions on. The role of media in a democracy is as crucial as that of the politicians and should never be underestimated.

  • Essential of Media in Democratic system

Media is an essential feature of a democratic They are mentioned below:

  • Find out the faults in the working system of the governing system in the country.
  • Promotion of ideals of democracy and information related thereof to secure no corruption policies.
  • The acting chain between the government and the general public.
  • Bring transparency to the democratic system.

Media and Social Responsibility:

The Normative Argument: The normative view of the press argues that the conduct of the media has to take into account public interests. The main public interest criteria that the media need to consider include freedom of publication, plurality in media ownership, diversity in information, culture and opinion, support for the democratic political system, support for public order and security of the state,  universal reach, quality of information and culture disseminated to the public, respect for human rights and avoiding harm to individuals and the society (McQuil, 2005).

 Role of Indian Judiciary in Protecting the Independence of Press/Media

  • The court in Romesh Thapar VS State of Madras case has alleged that the right to circulation is as important as the right to publication.
  • In Sakal News Papers VS Union of Indian indirect effort by Government to restrict the freedom, bypassing the Newspaper(Price and Pages) Act 1956, which empowered the government to regulate the space for advertisement, was struck down by judiciary as it, would have a direct impact on circulation.
  • Role of Media in Indian Democracy

Media is considered the backbone of democracy, it playing a very significant role in Indian democracy which is as follows:

  1. The media works as a watchdog of the government and carry every report of the action of administration thereby keeping the people informed about the day to day happenings taking place around them.
  2. The media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy. It makes us aware of various activities like politics, sports, economic social and cultural activities etc. It is also like a mirror that shows the bare truth and sometimes it may be harsh.
  3. The media also exposes loopholes in the democratic society, which ultimately helps the government in filling the vacuums of loopholes and making a system more accountable, responsive and democratic friendly. Thus the democracy without media is like a vehicle without wheels.

Good governance is an indeterminate term used to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources. Governance is the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”. Good governance is about the processes for making and implementing decisions. It is not about making ‘correct’ decisions but about the best possible process for making those decisions. The concept of “good governance” centres around the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society.


You have seen in the earlier sections the tremendous impact of the media on people. Just as a coin has two sides, the impact of mass media also can be positive or negative. Now let us list some of the positive and negative effects of media.


  • Media provide news and information required by the people.
  • The media can educate the public.
  • Media helps a democracy function effectively. They inform the public about government policies and programmes and how these programmes can be useful to them. This helps the people voice their feelings and helps the government to make necessary changes in their policies or programmes.


  • The traditional culture of a country is adversely affected by mass media.
  • Entertainment has become the main component of mass media. This affects the primary objectives of media to inform and educate the people.
  • Media promote Studies have proved that violence is shown on television.

The Need for Media Ethics

  • The issues of paid news, media trial, non-issues being presented as real news while the real issues are sidelined, the news is being doctored and fact distortion for profits and political favour, fake news, yellow journalism are important concerns that are influencing the public and impacting national security. For instance, fear-mongering through media has led to mob lynchings, attacks on the migrant population.
  • The absence of objective journalism leads to the false presentation of truth in a society which affects the perception and opinions of people. As observed in the case of the Cambridge Analytica case, the biased news coverage on social media platforms affected the Presidential elections in the U.S.
  • The chase for sensationalism and higher TRP rates as observed in the coverage of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in India risked the nation’s internal security. The sensationalism-driven reporting compromised the identities of rape victims and survivors despite SC guidelines.
  • Trial by media does not follow the due process of law and can reduce the public trust in institutions of governance like the judiciary.
  • Paid news and fake news can manipulate public perception and instigate hatred, violence, and disharmony among various communities within society.
  • With the advent of social media, technological changes, the reach of media has grown profoundly. Its reach and role in impacting public opinion have made it even more important to ensure its objectivity, non-partisanship calls for the enforcement of journalistic ethics.

The media act as a catalyst for democracy and development, helping to make public participation meaningful. If media is honest and committed in its job, democracy is bound to function more efficiently and the loopholes present in any democratic system can certainly be plugged to the fullest satisfaction of the people. Thus, the media framework needs improvement to have no controlled news and become a genuine channel to arrive at the brains of the individuals. Rule of law must go with a free press in the country and to maintain democracy with a free   press, media must be neutral not advocating towards private ownership or belong to the



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