Newspapers are one of the signs of civilization. The more a country is educated, the greater is the demand for newspapers, for an educated man is always eager to know what is going on in the world, and this information he can only have through the medium of newspapers. The primary function of a paper is to supply us with all sorts of news, local and foreign. It gives us information of what is going on in our own country, as well as in other parts of the world.
As a matter of fact, a newspaper is a sort of contemporary history. The benefits of a newspaper do not end here. By supplying information of the different parts of the world, they bring them into close tough with one another and tend to promote friendly feelings. A newspaper is also the best means of communication between the government of a country and its people. The rulers and the ruled make known their respective viewpoints through the medium of newspapers.
To build a nation, it becomes necessary to spread ideas of liberty and independence among the masses. The freedom of a country is never possible without the uplift of the masses. Newspapers are particularly useful for this purpose. Patriots and politicians circulate their ideas through the medium of newspapers and as the papers reach the remotest corners of a country, the ideas spread among the masses with greater ease than it would have been possible without the existence of newspapers.
Newspapers also play an important part in trade and commerce. For the growth and extension of business, publicity is absolutely necessary. It is not so easy for a trader to flourish in business by relying solely on local customers. In order to increase his business he must widely advertise his goods. Newspapers are the best medium for advertisement.
Perhaps the greatest benefit derived from newspapers is the development of knowledge. They tell us of all the progress that is going on in the field of literature and science; they give us an idea of the views of great thinkers and philosophers, they speak of the discoveries and inventions that are taking place in the world. Newspapers also make known to the people what their rights are and teach them how to protect these rights.
With all these advantages of a newspaper, there are also its disadvantages, for there is no rose without thorns. Just as a newspaper is capable of doing good, it is also capable of doing evil. Newspapers often become the organs for stirring up class-hatred and for communal purposes and for creating disaffection and ill-feeling between the rulers and the ruled.
In many cases they are used as mediums for publishing libels against respectable persons. Indecent advertisements often appear in some newspapers and have a tendency to demoralise people. These are, in short, the several drawbacks which newspapers labour under.
The evils of the newspaper, however, are far outweighed by its manifold advantages. A newspaper is one of the greatest boons of civilization and journalism should be allowed to have free scope. The restriction on the press should be removed as far as practicable to ensure the healthy growth of a nation. Newspapers, if fettered by laws and restrictions, cannot give expression to free opinion, and without the freedom of expression the utility of newspapers is destroyed.