Newspapers are the windows through which we see what is going on in the world. They link our mind with the social, cultural, political and scientific developments in different countries. Sometimes they tell us about the forces beyond our Earth. Our knowledge remains lame without them.
Since 18th century Press has been considered as the Fourth Estate. It does not only impart us information but offers opinion too. Many a time it criticizes the policies of different governments. Thus it forms free public opinion which is the comer stone of democracy. It is through newspapers that different political parties and their leaders convey their views to the people. Thus they form a broad based spectrum in the national life to form a true representative government.
The freedom of expression of individuals indirectly depends upon the freedom of Press; hi the absence of a strong opposition in the Parliament Press places checks and balances on the government. In India after 1984 elections the opposition did not have any voice in the Parliament. When the government did not disclose many facts some newspapers published them. Some newspapers disclosed what the government wanted to hide in the Bofors and Indira Gandhi assassination cases. Indian newspapers have specialized, in investigation journalism. They try to investigate the lapses of the government. Some of them investigate the condition of juveniles and women in jails and about the atrocities of landlords and others on the farmers and tribals.
Some countries impose restrictions on the Press. Newspapers are allowed to publish only those news and reports which are passed by the censor. Thus dictatorship or military regime continues there for a long time. That is why Gen. Zia could not be removed from power in Pakistan till his death in air crash. Press is not free in more than seventy countries in the world. Some of them are communist countries. Gorbachev gave Press some freedom in Russia. Now the Press is free in the former USSR.
With all this responsibility upon their shoulders the newspapers are expected to publish balanced news and reports. They should not go for sensational news alone. They should be instrumental in solving the social problems and removing poverty. It is good that most of the newspapers have been raising their voice against nuclear weapons, pollution, corruption and exploitation of the poor.