Responsibility of Media in A Democracy: Civil Services Mentor Magazine April 2013


In a democratic setup Media occupies the most vital position
and forms the very bedrock of democracy without which democracy is an aimless,
futile exercise and never fulfill the aspirations of the people in real terms.
The role of media in a democracy is as crucial as that of the politicians and
should never be underestimated. To bring out before the public nothing but the
truth in all matters without twisting the facts and should never be afraid of
anyone except God is the first and foremost job of the media. If a democracy is
to run smoothly in any country, it is a must that the media in all fairness
should be given full autonomy and a free hand it deserves in airing its views
among the people and no unnecessary restrictions should be imposed on it. The
media also on its part should play a very responsible, active and neutral role
in discharging its duties without being influenced by any particular political
party or few individuals and should treat everyone on a equal footing.

The word ‘democracy’ is derived from the Greek word ‘demos-
meaning – people and ‘cracy’ which means—rule. Thus democracy literally
signifies ‘the rule of the people’. In Abraham Lincoln’s famous word- democracy
is the government of the people, for the people and by the people”. So democracy
as a form of government implies that the ultimate authority of government is
vested in the common people, that public policy is made to conform to the will
of the people and to serve the interests of the people. Today we have indirect
or representative democracy where government is conducted by the representatives
of the people, who are elected at regular intervals through elections.

Effective democracy requires principles and working
institutions. The institutions of democracy are said to be basically six in
number. They are legislature, elected at regular intervals by adult universal
suffrage. There must be political parties with coherent policies and capable
alone, or in conjunction with other parties for carrying out a consistent policy
and programmes for the peoples all round development and not only those who may
have voted for them. There must be an executive, staffed with civil servants who
are politically neutral. There must be independent legal system and lastly there
must be a free media -both print and electronic. No democracy can succeed
without a strong and effective opposition. Strong opposition exercise a healthy
restraint on the ruling party and prevents it from subjecting the people to
arbitrary and despotic rule, sometimes the media acts like an opposition in the
absence of strong opposition in a country.

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