Vol. 1, Issue 9 (2016)
Freedom of press vis-a-vis right to privacy
Author(s): Dr. Poonam Kataria
Abstract: Media is not only a medium to express one's feelings, opinions and views, but it is also responsible and instrumental for shaping opinions and views on various topics of regional, national and international agenda. The crucial role played by media is its ability to mobilize the thinking process of millions of people. The existence of a free, independent and powerful media is the cornerstone of every society. ‘Freedom of Press’ is regarded to be a part of the Fundamental Right of ‘Freedom of Speech and expression’ guaranteed by article 19(1)(a) to the citizens of India. The freedom of the media, like any other freedom has to be exercised within reasonable boundaries. With great power comes great responsibility. There is an indomitable duty on media to respect the privacy of others. The individual who is the subject of a press or television ‘item’ has his or her personality, his or her reputation or career dashed to the ground after the media exposure. He too has a fundamental right to live with liberty, dignity and respect and a right to privacy guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Today, it has been realised that the over- inquisitive media, which is a product of over- commercialization, is severely encroaching the individual’s “Right to Privacy” by crossing the boundaries of its freedom. There is a need to maintain balance between the freedom of speech & expression of Press and right to privacy of the individuals. It is necessary to keep a check on the extent of its role and when it starts to forget the thin line between public and private interest. Since balancing of the right to privacy against freedom of press is a complex process and demands sensitivity to both interests, it requires a clear precision.