News & Events

Faculty Seminar | Protecting Journalism from National Security: the Aftermath of Madhyamam Broadcasting


Conference Hall, Ground Floor, Training Centre, NLSIU


Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 4:00 pm

NLS faculty Manish will present a paper titled “Protecting journalism from national security: the aftermath of Madhyamam Broadcasting”.  Radhika Chitkara will be the discussant.


The Supreme Court of India has, in its jurisprudence over the last seven decades, evolved an interpretation of Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(2) of the Constitution that reads the right broadly and the restrictions narrowly, especially where press freedom is concerned. Despite this, journalists  reporting on national security issues face challenges ranging from lack of information to heavy penalties. In recent years, governments have often invoked national security to restrict journalism, using anti-terror laws which carry stringent penalties and threat of long pre-trial incarceration without bail. These and other national security laws have been upheld by the Supreme Court, which has, in contrast to its press freedom jurisprudence, adopted a ‘minimalist’ approach and refused to closely scrutinise them for infringement of fundamental rights. In this context, I contrast the Court’s free speech jurisprudence with its national security jurisprudence, and argue that the Court needs to import its exposition of the ‘chilling effect’ from the former into the latter, and evaluate executive actions and statutory procedures involving the media in the context of their ability to impact press freedom. I suggest that the Court’s 2023 judgment in  Madhyamam Broadcasting v. Union of India is a first step towards ensuring that national security is not loosely used to curtail press freedom.