Why does one need to keep raving and ranting about freedom of speech – because it is currently threatened and because we want our democracy to succeed. Our legal system motto is well known – “we are so careful that we will not let any innocent man/woman be convicted” – but we are okay to let criminals go or continue cases for a few decades – so much that the only thing left to be sent to jail are the criminals ashes or his corpse.
Delhi Police & Civil Society
The Delhi police slogans (on the street barricades) tell you everything “Sure we slow you down but we try not to let criminals go by” – did you notice the statement and the emphasis on “try not to” – of course ask any guy on the motorcycle what that means in general (harassment for sure among other things). But amazingly in this setting , our laws are being mended to provide instant gratification to the powerful when their (large)ego’s are somewhat hurt. Let us oppose this – our democracy is great – we all have a responsibility to guide it and provide it with direction. I remember Kapil Sibal saying that we are the chosen representatives – so why should we listen to civil society? But what is Civil Society to do if the chosen representatives think of government as their private business?
Star India CEO
Star India CEO and Chairman of Ficci’s media and entertainment committee Uday Shankar Tuesday said freedom of speech was still being questioned even after over 60 years of independence. Shankar said it was “shocking that there groups who still continue to debate on the right amount of freedom that can be granted to the media”. Recently I was shocked to see a ticker tape on TV – saying something to the effect of – if you don’t like what was said in this program – you can file a complaint with NBA New Delhi – this is the effect of legislation – the broadcasters have been forced to create an institution to deflect government threats. What about the lost revenue to the channel that is forced to show the ticker tape (additional revenue means more employment , more taxes that help the poor) – that is totally lost on all. And what has NBA done so far – all I can see from web search is a censure against TV18 for a “biased report on Rajiv Gandhi trust”. This proves the point that I have been trying to make in my previous post – these laws are for the powerful and connected. Remember Aseem Trivedi , the cartoonist who was jailed on the basis of a complaint filed by a senior politician.
Press Freedom Index
India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index is 140/179. Some would call me a glass-half empty type of person and that we should be happy that we are at least not in the 170’s. Of course I will hasten to point out that this rank is lower than Afghanistan and Qatar (yes , Qatar!). Is this something our Founding fathers would be proud of ?