Study Guide to Help You Crack Press Laws and Ethics

  • Amazing Study Guide to Help You Crack Press Laws and Ethics With Ease!

    What is this subject and why do I have to learn it?


    As students of the Mass Media course, you are today at a juncture in life where you know how important is your contribution to the country. If you do not then let me highlight the power of the press to you, as torchbearers of the media of this vast nation who has a population in billions you are the ones who are going to touch a minimum million lives a day simply by the might of an article you write for the print or the web media, by means of the news you take to the screen may it be a television screen or a mobile screen and by the means of your voices ringing the millions of radio sets.

    These are just the popular modes of media that I am talking about, so now do you understand just how mighty a word from you is going to be in the span of just a few months when you complete your degree and step out into the real world.

    You are the influencers and thought provokers, the creative people who will use innovations across genres and take back stories of bravado, of fear, of terror, of corruption or maybe of kindness, devotion and humble backgrounds to the world. Like Spiderman says with great power comes great responsibility, the subject of press laws and ethics has been introduced just to infuse into you the responsibilities and ethical pathways to follow to ensure the power vested into you is used in the right way with the right might.

    As rebellious students of today’s generation, the first impression of a law to you is a restriction and like the entire student community you believe that ‘rules are meant to be broken!’ Then why in the name of the good God has the university burdened you with a subject like this, knowing fully well how averse you are to following rules?

    Following rules as go up in life isn’t an option like in college days, and especially when there is the power to influence the entire nation you also have the power to hurt, create discomfort and problems by a simple mistake or an incorrect judgment which is why certain segments have been protected by the Indian judiciary and in case you try and get too high headed with the power in your hand you will surely be #laweyered i.e. put behind bars for not following them.

    As students of the media this subject is your first interaction with the law so it comes as a double whammy, one hand it’s a whole lot of restrictions and on the other it’s lengthy, tedious and a lot of things to memorize. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a boring KT subject right?

    Well it’s not, because if you take a little interest and follow it up with the steps I give out to help you score well, you might just end up liking this subject and surprisingly score really good marks in it too!

    What is the Syllabus for this Subject?

    1. Introduction to Laws
    2. Classification of Laws
    3. Copyright Act and Intellectual property Rights
    4. Official Secrets Act
    5. Press Council of India act 1978
    6. Contempt of courts Act, 1971
    7. Other Laws aimed at curbing press freedom
    8. Introduction of The Indian Evidence Act 1872
    9. Ethics
    10. Advertiser and Ownership influence and interference etc.


    What is the best method to Study a subject like this?

    This subject introduces you initially to laws and classifies them. Laws in simple language are a set of rules and regulations that govern the country. Any disagreement or disrespect to them might land you up with a punishment of different degrees depending on the level of your crime.

    Next it talks about the copyright act and intellectual property rights act. An intellectual property is a piece of creativity created by a person be it a wok of literature, a poem, a painting, an invention, a idea, a dance form, an art form whatever is created by someone using their own originality and creativity is termed as an intellectual property.

    People who create this property do not want others to steal their work and hence they put a ‘copyright’ to it. It means that an imitation or reproduction of the copyrighted article is a punishable offence and the acts on copy rights and intellectual property deal with the same respectively.

    While the ‘Official Secrets Act’ deals with the leaking and espionage of secrets vital to the interest of the country with outsiders and putting the security and integrity of the nation at threat ‘The Press Council of India Act’ talks about how the press council of India was created and the purposes it serves in helping the media community across the nation on the whole.

    The ‘Contempt’s of Court Act’ talks about any misleading or malice creating information spread regarding any judicial body of the country by the press while the ‘Indian Evidence Act’ talks about the representation, declaration or misrepresentation of evidences in an ongoing legal case or juridical proceeding in the country.

    There is also a section that deals with curbing the freedom of the press, which they claim to be in the interest of the nation and hence learning this section is of utmost importance for any aspiring journalist.

    While this ends the legal sections next comes the section on ethics which deals with the concept of right and wrong for an individual and its impact on the society at large. The last section on ‘Advertiser and Ownership influence and interference’ deals with the interference of advertisers and the information passed out in the media with regards to claims made and promises made by these advertisers.

    While this sums up what you are going to study; let me help you out with how you will study this:

    For the legal section you can create ‘Mind Maps’ and for the other theory sections you can use the ‘Google Method’.

    Mind mapping is done as follows:

    Mind mapping is when you keep going down each step by dissecting your theory into smaller sections and marking them using flow charts, whereby the pictorial representation and the dissected matter help you remember the entire law with ease.

    For example:

    Consumer Protection Act, 1986- Section 6 of the Act grants consumers the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.


    Easy enough to understand but to remember and reproduce exactly? Difficult!

    Try it this way:

    Name: Consumer protection act à Date: 1986 à Section: 6 àConsumers à rights: to be informed à about: a. Quality, b. Quantity, c. Potency, d. Purity, e. Standard, f. Price à of: goods and services à to protect against: unfair trade practices.

    Google method is as follows: The Google method is a very interesting method for the internet generation that we are. When you need information on a particular subject what you end up doing is:

    1. Hitting the Google search bar

    2. Reading through the best link in front of you to know what the page is talking about.

    3. Clicking on sub links that help you understand things in details and finally

    4. Check out some extra details in the news section to ensure you know what is currently happening with regards to your topic of interest.

    You can apply the same method for studying an entire plain and boring subject from start to end in a way that it gets completed and does not bore you to death in the process.

    1. Take up the text book of your choice (you’ll have plenty of options in the market for any particular subject.

    2. Follow it up by reading it like you would scan a web page or a novel to understand what it talks about, you need not really understand everything that you read in depth but try and grasp as much as possible.

    3. Take up past university question papers or college/classes papers and learn those answers well, these act like the sub links that give you appropriate and in-depth information.

    4. Follow it up by doing your answers at the back of each chapter, which will be like reading Google news to know whatever is left out of the topic.


    All the best :)



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