Privacy and the Media: A Critical Analysis

The conferring of the Right to Freedom of Press as an annexure to the Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression is apt and justified. Being a social creature, it is very important for us to know about the whereabouts of the society or surroundings near us. The Press has been an ample part of the society from time immemorial. The media has been an influential aspect of gathering public opinion on the happenings of the society, bringing out the social evils to the world, making people aware of any calamities, bringing out scams etc.

Journalism, a service oriented profession, entails great responsibility. Journalists are vigilant watchdogs of civil liberties, and are required to make critical scrutiny and careful questioning of various aspects of our daily life, in order to generate healthy public debates that would help augmenting the way we perceive existence in society today. The journalist bears responsibility before the society in general, before the law and before the professional association. The social responsibility of the journalist requires that he acts in accordance with his personal ethical standards. Respecting the right of society to objective information, the journalist must convey truthful information without hindering the personal space of an individual. The news should be based on facts and information where truthfulness can be checked. The trust which is conveyed upon a journalist should not be abused.


The modern media involve capital investment; use of machinery and raw materials and employment of labor and technicians. In all this respect, they are similar to any other business enterprise. And like the business class, stiff competition thrives in the Media world too. And in this race, day to day they are forgetting about the principles of Responsible journalism thereby invading the personal space of a person. There should be a healthy competition but the object of the competition should not only be restricted to money making, but indulging in carrying substantial reporting and providing responsible news. Nevertheless, only discussing, analyzing or criticizing a problem will not give any solution. And when the issue has so much societal connection as the case herein, it should be dealt cautiously. Firstly, we need strong laws on this subject especially some guidelines in how far the media can extend its right to expression in relation to the privacy of a person. That is, a clear distinction mark is essential in this tug of war between Right to freedom of press and the Right to privacy, both of which are constitutionally guaranteed rights. Only the laws will not help, strong implementation is also necessary. Secondly, the media which creates so much awareness in the society should also create awareness among itself as far as their working ethics is concerned. There is no question about the labour and determination which they put in their work to morally raise the society, but this morality graph should also be binding upon them to garner the strong democracy which is the need of the hour. Earlier, the media was only an aid to the society, but now, it has itself gone a parabolic transition and is a recognized society itself.I can conclude in the words of famous journalist Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai who said: “I guess journalists are more feared today, but sadly less respected. We are more arrogant, less ethical”.But this scenario can be changed if the media people become a little more tolerant and dedicated towards their profession with honesty and integrity as they have this huge responsibility of showing both the concave and the convex sides of the society.




  1. AIR 1950 SC 124
  2. (1985) 1 SCC 641
  3. (1985) 1 SCC 133
  4. AIR 1962 SC 305
  5. AIR 1996 SC 264
  6. 376 U.S 254 (1964)
  7. Derbyshire County Council Vs. Times Newspapers Ltd [1993 (2) WLR 449 (H.L)]
  8. 1993(3) WLR 1010 (H.L)
  9. Supra Note 6
  10. Supra note 5
  11. AIR 1963 SC 1295
  12. AIR 1975 SC 1379
  13. Billie Sol Estes Case (Estes Vs. Texes) [381 U.S 532 (1965)]
  14. (1980) 1 NZLR 163
  15. CrL Misc.(Main) 3938/2003
  16. Vashisht @ Manu Sharma Vs. NCT Of Delhi [Crl. A. No. 193/2006]

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