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The Role of the State in the Media Systems


Media systems are the entire institutional guidelines, norms, and rules within mass communication mean that constantly inform the community concerning the trending issues and interpret them. Media systems can also be referred to as the relationship between mass media means and other public organizations influencing information processes and intra-system relations. Thus, since it is a system, it involves a set of media associations and practices comprehended as engaging with and shaping another which are embedded within the political, cultural, economic, and social systems (Flew & Waisbord, 2015). The character of the media system depends on the primary market, which involves the relationship between journalists, recipients, and the promotion market, and the secondary market, which involves relationships between newscasters, media institutions, and owners of media institutions. The Media system involves a variable state, a political entity that acts on behalf of the governed and has the power to make and enforce laws. The media system is focused on the set of attributes connected to the news media, media policy and governance, and political communication which are perceived to be interrelated. The media systems can be differentiated using four dimensions which include the establishment of media markets, the extent, and types of political parallelism, the role of the state, and the professionalism of journalists (Hallin & Mancini, 2015). This paper identifies a new law that has been passed in the last ten years by a nation-state and how it relates to the country’s media system.

The role of the state

Every state has different roles in its media systems because the media systems of the states are different. The state can intervene to offer services and make laws because the media is not a free market, and the state must play a role. The state’s three components, which involve the legislature, executive, and judiciary, interact with the media in different situations. The state acts as a regulatory body whereby the state legislature enacts laws to be followed by all media systems (Hallin & Mancini, 2015). Every state has a government agency that is responsible for regulating the media. For instance, the Federal Communications Commission regulates the media by issuing licenses, policing different media content, and charging all media stakeholders that violate the federal laws concerning the media. Besides, the state provides the content to the media, which includes public health and other important news concerning the public. It also ensures free news and entertainment to consumers through state-owned media platforms. The state thus plays various roles in the media, including regulation, advertising, supporting media professionals and consumers, and providing content for the media, such as public health information. Therefore, this means that the state can develop laws to govern the media through the legislature, enforce them through the executive, and judge those that break them through the judiciary.

Intermediary Law 2021

India has many laws that regulate the media’s performance, including the Indian press act, the constitutional provision concerning press freedom and cable television regulation act, right to information. Some of the laws are directly related to the media, while others are indirectly related to the media. However, the laws change constantly to suit the changing times to ensure that they remain significant. The state develops the laws since the states perceive that absolute freedom of the media is not good, and hence reasonable restrictions have to be developed regarding morality, decency, security of the state, incitement to offence, and defamation. Through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India established Intermediary rules 2021 under Section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The main aim of the intermediary rule is to develop a balanced, soft-touch oversight approach concerning social media platforms and digital media (Shankar & Ahmad, 2021).

The Intermediary Rules 2021 has three sections. Section 1 involves defining all terms used in it. Section 2 involves the outstanding attentiveness requirements to be adhered to by social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries, and section 3 involves the code of ethics and practice and protection concerning digital media. The outstanding attention requirements to be followed by the social media middleman in its operations include a publishing privacy rule, user treaty and guidelines and regulations for using its website, removing each objectionable content within 36 hours after being hosted in their servers, protecting data following reasonable security procedures and practices and reporting any form of cybersecurity incidence and share it with Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Bhat, 2021). The expected attention requirements to be maintained by significant social media intermediaries involve removing content in occurrences where the user’s right to use the website has been retracted, using technology-based methods to recognize and remove information that represents objectionable content, ensuring the users verify their accounts voluntarily using relevant mechanisms and publishing compliance records each month comprising the information regarding grievances acknowledged and the actions developed to solve the grievances, and the recorded data of offensive content deleted using hands-on observation using computerized tools (Dubey et al., 2021).

Moreover, the Intermediary Rules 2021 defines a code of conduct to be adhered to by journalists when delivering news using online platforms and digital media. This is to regulate the publishers of news and trending events and the publishers of information that is curated online. According to this rule, the regulatory body must guarantee that the editors abide by to the ethics developed, offer direction concerning the code of ethics, address complaints with publishers, and listen to appeals filed by complainants. The body is also responsible for directing the publishers of online curated information to reclassify the information ratings and modify age categories and access control measures. Besides, the rule consists of an oversight mechanism whereby an authorized officer will be responsible for beginning the process of deleting, blocking, and modifying the content of publishers and blocking the content in case of an emergency (Dubey et al., 2021). Hence the government has ordered technology institutions to actively monitor what the citizens communicate on their social media platforms and maintain the data on the user’s identity that may be given to the government on demand. The providers should also take down information that the Indian government perceives to be illegal or a threat to the security of India. However, the law is facing criticism from experts since it will change how substantial technology companies like Facebook and Twitter operate by saying that the law was introduced and implemented without consulting the public. Also, they believe that the law can undermine the user rights that technology organizations offer, for instance, end-to-end encryption (Choudhury, 2021). Some of the digital news platforms have criticized the rules saying that the rules are an oppressive architecture by providing the government with the power to delete and modify information of publishers, which is a violation of the press freedom provided by the constitution (Kaur, 2021).

Relationship of the Law to the India Media System

The media system of India carries all the models established by Hallin and Mancini. The Indian media is not entirely free from the government shackles since all media platforms are under government control. As the Indian media is not independent, several factors contribute to its low professionalization: the media’s independence from any form of pressure (Mushtaq & Baig, 2020). One factor contributing to the low professionalization is politicization, whereby politicians and political parties control the media. The intermediary rules 2021 relate to the role of the state since the Indian media is not independent and has to be regulated by the government. The government seeks to control the digital media from misinforming the public to ensure ethics. Besides, it seeks to protect the state through digital media by identifying any information that may be a threat to the people. In addition, the rule while ensuring professionalism in Indian digital media since the content of publishers will be free from influence by politicians and political parties. This is because the publisher will be keen on breaking the code of conduct established by the government. Otherwise, failure to adhere would block or delete their digital news platforms.


Media systems are the entire institutional guidelines, norms, and rules within mass communication mean that constantly inform the community concerning the trending issues and interpret them. The approach to understanding the media systems of different states comprises four aspects: the role of the state, market structure, political parallelism, and professionalization. The state has diverse roles in the media system, including support by offering subsidies for media production, regulating the media through censorship, and offering content to the media. Using the case of India, the state has various laws that regulate the media. The new law concerning media developed by the Indian government is the Intermediary Rules 2021, which involves regulating the content provided via digital media and ensuring the technology companies supporting social media ensure that publishers do not publish information that the government perceives to be illegal. This relates to the media system of India, which is the role of the state, showing that the Indian media is not free from government regulation. Therefore, the role is a form of regulation from the state to ensure no spread of illegal information, ensuring morality and ethics in the Indian media.


Bhat, P. (2021). Platform politics: The emergence of alternative social media in India. Asia Pacific Media Educator31(2), 269-276.

Choudhury, S. R. (2021). India wants to cut Big Tech down to size. Critics say the new rules may give the state too much power. CNBC.

Dubey, N., Raman, V., & Aggarwal, S. (2021). Social Media Rules 2021: Transforming Social Media – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment – India.

Flew, T., & Waisbord, S. (2015). The ongoing significance of national media systems in the context of media globalization. Media, Culture & Society37(4), 620-636.

Hallin, D. A. N. I. E. L., & MANCINI, P. (2015). Media systems. The international encyclopedia of political communication. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Kaur, D. (2021). India’s new social media rules explained. Tech Wire Asia.

Mushtaq, S., & Baig, F. (2020). Indian media system: An application of comparative media approach. South Asian Studies31(2).

Shankar, R., & Ahmad, T. (2021). Information Technology Laws: Mapping the Evolution and Impact of Social Media Regulation in India. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology41(4).


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