A Free Press

Journalists around the world in varying contexts risk their lives daily in unprotected situations to act in public interest by bringing stories, to share experiences and to impartially report unfolding situations with the hope to inform and empower people to make knowledgeable decisions and actions. It is the desire of most journalists to reveal the truth, promote justice and peace; facilitate pluralism and encourage political and cultural expressions. Hence the public institution of the media is a critical necessity to every democracy. A press that is constrained by rigid polities, restrictive legislations, intimidation or societal dogma indicates the lack of democratic principles and practices.
Empirical truth has quite clearly indicated that there can be no free press if journalists exist in conditions of poverty, corruption and fear. This in turn has direct implications on the society and its democratic values. Any deliberate assault on the institutions of the free press therefore is seen as an attack on not just democracy, but the people that make up the society. By this, one does not simply imply any isolated acts against members of the institution; rather it means any systematic or deliberate actions that threatens, intimidates and assaults the very idea of a free press; and in essence the very people that makes up the institution of the media. Invariably the concept of a free press is naturally connected to the idea of safety. And in an increasingly polarized world which is characterized by exclusivity, public mistrust, rising violence and fear, the idea of safety has become very relative.  
In the Naga context, the institution of the press needs to be strengthened. While it has weathered many difficult circumstances and assumed an important role in the narratives of the progression of society, it still needs to work on consolidating public trust and assume a more deliberate role in shaping and enabling democratic change. The gap between the institution of the press and the society is widening, and as a result the press has in recent times become a vulnerable and soft target to those who seek to intimidate the press. A free Naga press is of absolute necessity. Therefore to ensure the growth and vibrancy of a free press it is crucial for public protest against any undemocratic assault on the institutions of the press. Simultaneously, it is also important that the press takes upon itself the responsibility to reflect and articulate the view and opinions of the people in the public arena. It remains a question whether civil society and the press in the Naga context is relating in a complimentary manner.