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India re-affirms press freedom

India has re-affirmed its commitment to media freedom at News Conclave 2019 held at Kochi, Kerala, last month.

While delivering a keynote speech at the event, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting (MIB), Prakash Javadekar, declared: “Media freedom is the essence of democracy. But it must be also understood that in a democratic civil society, freedom has to be responsible freedom.

“Responsible freedom is not regulated freedom; it’s self-regulation using our own (country) methods.”

He explained that incidents of mob lynching are happening now and then in the country due to rumours spread via social media. He added such incidents happened because of the absence of an authority or self-regulatory mechanism in social media.

India’s broadcasting and media industry has been invited by the MIB to help draft a new national broadcast policy. The policy aims to bridge the challenges in the broadcast sector and to boost self-regulation.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation told the ministry during its submission that threats of legal action with punitive damages have led to the weakening of press freedom and creates undue pressure on journalists; it called upon the ministry to ensure a “safe environment” for journalists.

According to Economic Times of India, the ministry is also seeking feedbacks from broadcasters, content aggregators, infrastructure providers and manufactures to remove regulatory barriers and reduce the obstacles for investments, innovations and consumer interests.

Image Source: PTI

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