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Political allegiances have eroded journalistic responsibility: SC in Rafale case

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New Delhi, Apr 10: The Supreme Court which agreed to hear a review plea in the Rafale case had some words of wisdom on freedom of press.

Political allegiances have eroded journalistic responsibility: SC in Rafale case

While dealing with the publication of documents relating to the deal in The Hindu, the court said, 'no question has been raised and in our considered opinion, very rightly. The right of such publication would seem to be in consonance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.'

In so far as the claim of privilege is concerned, on the very face of it, Section 123 of the Evidence Act relates to unpublished records. As already noticed, the three documents have been published in different editions of the newspaper, the court said.

[Before agreeing to a review, here is what SC had said on Rafale deal]

Further the court said that the a free person must be fearless. Fear can be of losing all or any of the things that is held dear by the journalist. A free man cannot be biased, the SC observed.

The rule against bias is an important axiom to be observed by judges. Equally the press including the visual media cannot be biased and yet be free. Bias ordinarily implies a pre-disposition towards ideas of persons. It may stem from personal, political or financial considerations. Transmitting biased information betrays absence of true freedom, the court also said.

The Bench further said that controlling business interests and political allegiances have eroded journalistic responsibility.

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