One person’s liberty can be another person’s constraint because conditions in our charismatic society continue to change. Defamation stands that any imputation- written, spoken or otherwise – concerning an individual, which is intended to harm the reputation of said individual is said to be defamatory. Defamation laws are given in Indian penal code, 1860 and law of torts. Where as if we see the contradiction of this freedom of press although there is no provision guaranteeing the freedom of press because freedom of press is included in the wider form of expression which is guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a) of Indian Constitution. Freedom of press (expression) means to express not only one’s own views but also the views of others by any medium or means.
It is very disputable topic all over the country that we have freedom to speak or publish then why it becomes an offence and consider it defamatory. Freedom to press (freedom to speech and expression Article 19(1)(a) is not absolute but have certain reasonable restriction in the interests of the security of the state, sovereignty and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or for the prevention of contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
Defamation comes under restriction of freedom of speech. So as it is important to protect people from the harms that untrue statement may cause, it is also important to protect speaker so that they may speak freely without fear of reprisal. It means that they can speak or publish whatever they want to but there should be no untrue statement which harm the reputation of any person. People cannot be punished for speaking the truth, no matter how ugly it may be. Truth is always a defence to a claim of defamation.
Freedom of press (expression) is regarded as one of the most important human rights and one of the basic conditions for the progress of a democratic society and for the development of every man. As we all know media plays a great role in everyone’s life people get to know more about people through press only rather it’s only a news or case on any big man or you can say any information relates any country or else whether it in a form of debate or to girl people by expressing their view point so that people can know and have their skill how it all works. Nothing is defamation if in press something is stated true or in good faith. The media is a gatekeeper and watching dog to us it watches what’s going in society or country it make us aware although its restricts to them they cannot harm any reputation in society but if they are revealing any truth they should not be stop by any political pressure or because of any money hunger. It acts as multifaceted institution with multiple activities. The freedom of press is a necessary concomitant of the freedom of expression that involves a right to receive and impart information without which democracy becomes an empty slogan. Freedom of press is necessary for the people to have a right of information or knowledge through the medium of press.
There is recent case of Rahmat Fatima Amanullah she is a daughter of former Bihar minister Praveen Amanullah supreme court rejected the plea filed against Patna high court’s order quashing criminal defamation proceeding initiated by her against Rajdeep Sardesi and Raghav Bahl for allegedly defaming her by telecasting certain reports on Hindu news channel IBN7 in 2011 regarding her alleged involvement in a land allotment scam in the state.
Supreme court dismissed the appeal and said that journalist should be allowed to exercise freedom of expression, it said that particular piece of wrong reporting should not be held against them forever.
It shows that may be there is wrong reporting but they might not have intention to do that and they were not held under this sometimes its is on evidence and circumstance of the case that the person publishing something or speaking having intention to let down the reputation of another or not if he does something which is not intentionally he will not be held liable.
At the end it concluded that there should be freedom of press which is not absolute but have reasonable restrictions which also include defamation. And which is not violating anyone’s right but maintain the peace and integrity of society.
Sarika Vishnoi is a 2nd year BA LL.B student of Modi University, Sikar.