India got its independence in 1947 and has remained to be a functional democracy ever since. The key ingredient in surviving the democracy is the free press which also is considered to be the unofficial fourth pillar of democracy. Contrary to beliefs of the western pundits, India not only strengthen the structure of its democracy but also developed a multi party system. The constitution of India is considered to be amongst the most well-made constitutions which drew its inspirations from various countries like USA, Britain etc. That constitution itself grants the freedom of speech which is considered to be the freedom of press.
India has witnessed post witnessed communication revolution post liberalization era where not only there was an explosion of newspapers and magazines but also the television and new media had their good amount of fair share to it. In fact, India now claims to be the second largest television viewing audience in the world with 600 views. There are two significant changes that can be marked in the media, one being giving voice to the voiceless and the other being, how business powers the political reportage in India.
Often journalists covering politics are termed in variety of names. A person chiefly covering politics would be called a ‘congress’, while someone following Bhartiye Janta Party would be typically called a ‘sanghi’, even a writer whose typical of the government policy will be called a ‘Naxal’ and what we can see post 2014 is any journalist who writes/says against the sitting government is called an ‘anti national’. A reporter has to go through various stages before reporting it to the masses which often includes forming a legit background, cultivating sources and also forming an area of specialization. This process might hinder the objective reporting. Political reporting has primarily two issues, the reporters or the journalists while tracking a political party might get swayed or influenced by the ideology or get too blinded by the ‘greatness’ of the political leader. This will come in the way of the objective reporting and will cause a biased reportage having an inclination towards a certain ideology or a party making readers/viewers deprived of authentic and true story. Many reporters have often said that there are certain areas and spaces in every party that is ready to leak stories to the journalists.
The main challenge often comes when various ministries in India put out the guidelines. As in recent times, the government often rolled out several guidelines that were confusing and poorly briefed to the journalists. Say, when ‘unlock 1.0’ was supposed to happen, government had rolled out certain guidelines which were not clear that had journalists also left in confusion. In order to make everything clear, they had to draw two-three more guidelines explaining what the first one meant. This was the challenged faced by journalists.