Media is said to be one of the four important pillars of any democratic country. It empowers communities and drives a great societal and environmental change by meaningful storytelling and various forms of creative communications. India is the largest democracy in the world and media has been playing a crucial role here right since its first freedom fight that took place in the year 1857.
The press in India is free but this freedom is subject to some certain logical and reasonable restrictions that have been imposed on it by the Constitution of India. When India was untouched by the impact of globalization, the entire control on media was in the hands of the Government. Due to this control, media was nothing but the mouthpiece of the Government and used to portray only the pleasant side of the coin.
However, with the onset of privatization and globalization, the entire scenario witnessed a drastic change. Before the advent of communication satellites, there was only one medium of communication both in India and abroad. It was only terrestrial channel that used to be the whole and sole property of the government. The revolution in communication advancement gave birth to transnational media making the entire world a small family.
It was the time for government to take some regulatory measures and impose certain legal checks upon media. The mass media laws in India have an old background that goes to the British Rule. It takes us back to 1799 when Lord Wellesley promulgated press regulations and it was for the first time when newspapers were imposed censorship. Thereafter, in the year 1857, the Government passed the Gagging Act that made it mandatory to have license to run any magazine or newspapers.
However, the most significant day in the history of Indian Media came when the Constitution of India came into force on 26th January, 1950. It was then the freedom of expression was incorporated in the constitution itself and the press got immense freedom. It is also logical to mention here that freedom given to press is a fact but it is not absolute but is qualified to certain limitations in the interest of the masses.
In most of the cases, the government and even the Apex Court of India from time to time suggests media bodies to have a regulatory measures upon them. With hundreds of news and entertainment mediums operational in the country, media should take responsibility of the content as ruled out by the court. Nevertheless, press enjoys its own freedom and it has reached its climax in recent years.