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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Is freedom of speech and expression being denied in India?


    Do you feel there has been a drastic curb on the Indian citizen's right to freedom of speech in recent years? Share your views with others on this current topic.



    As per the Constitution of India, all Indian citizens have the right to express their opinions or thoughts freely in the form of words, pictures, writings, etc. In the previous years, the mode of expression was through the word of mouth, cartoons and articles. But now the platform is wide and the social media has become a stone bench where a lot of people are discussing almost all the topics including the breaking news and trending topics on politics, media, movies, sports and all the other daily happenings in the form of statuses, articles, videos, memes and cartoons. Social media is nowadays used as a good platform to express the thoughts and opinions on an issue. On the other hand, some filmmakers use movies as a platform and convey their ideologies, social messages and opinions through short films and movies. A lot of medium is used by a common man to express his or her views.

    But be it a social media post, a cartoon or any movie dialogue, if a common man expresses his or her thoughts and opinions regarding the Government or any social issues happening in the society, some political parties and politicians create controversies out of it and turn them into a big issue. Why is it so? Does the freedom of speech apply only to the Government?

    Not everyone has the same views on an issue. The point of argument, opinions and the expressions vary from person to person. India is a democratic country and Indian citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression.

    Is it that freedom of speech is being denied in India? Is the right to speak still alive or dead? Should there be any restriction or limitations on freedom of speech? How effectively should a citizen utilize the right to freedom of speech and expression?

    Express your opinions.
  • #642437
    A very beautiful thread raised by Ms. Soundharya. This will definitely cause a good debate. Let me start with my initial comment. Contrary to the author's view, due to social media, common people can now express their views much prominently, that they could do even 20 years ago. At that time, people could only write letters to the newspapers, but in 99.9% cases, the letters would not be published, especially when the views were not in consonance of the views of the newspapers. But now people can express their views in social media.

    However, it is our duty to aurgue on the basis of correct facts. Interpretation must be backed by solid data.

    The author has sought to know whether freedom of speech is being denied in India? The debates and views expressed by some Members on various isses would undoubtedly prove that freedom of expression is getting stronger in this country.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #642445
    For that matter there is no denial of freedom of speech or expression, instead the people and parties are using the social media handle to express their reaction, dismay, displeasure and above all vent their ire and thus within seconds the issue gets sensational and the electronic media catches up as their hot topic to debate and thus verbal duel starts. There is no wrong in raking up issues, but what I feel that some politicians are still immature and they do not know their writing on the social media would bring instant bad name to them and thus we can see hostility in the public when the leader visiting particular place or state. In fact the public are also using the social media to ridicule the bad and unsolicited behavior of politicians with their outburst and thus what I feel that freedom of expression may not be through face by through writing is very much in trending.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #642466
    Freedom of expression is important and it has been given to us by the Constitution of India. But this can't be wasted and it can't be used to create controversies or problems to others. These days in the social media everybody is placing their own news without seeing the correctness of the news. This is creating a problem. They are trying to blame the people whom they don't like. There is no editing here and the fake news and unnecessary issues are spreading, Do you think it is a right way of doing the things?
    Many times much fake news is spreading and creating problems. Many local political leaders are using this media as a tool to spread unnecessary issues and trying to unpopular their rivals which are raising many controversies and spoiling the entire issue. So I feel the freedom of expression should be there but with certain rules and regulations to govern the social media posts.

    drrao
    always confident

  • #642482
    Reply to Mr. Partha (# 642437),

    Yes! The social media is a widespread area to discuss various issues. Just by seeing the open discussions of the people on the social media, can we say that the freedom of speech and expression is stronger in our country?

    India is a populous country and a lot of people are active on social media sites discussing various issues and problems. Most of the views expressed by a common man in the social media are left unnoticed. If the system notifies all the viewpoints to the concerned persons, will a common man courageously express his/her views on social media? I consider expressing the thoughts, views and opinions freely without any threat as the real meaning of the freedom of speech and expression.

    Let us bring the celebrities into this discussion. Like a common man, if a celebrity expresses his views about any particular issue on the social media, then the media will immediately prepare breaking news for the public. If the statement of the celebrity is in the favor of the government, then his/ her statement will not be given much importance. If the views are against the government, then you know what would be the reaction.

    Not only on social media, can a film artist openly speak about a political party or portray the negative shades of the schemes implemented by the Government through sensible dialogues in the movies? Films are one powerful medium which is used to connect mass audiences. Some filmmakers try to express his views and opinions through movies. But, unwanted controversies will be created, if the movies have any such scenes. Do you feel the artists who are also the citizens of India have the freedom of speech and expression in the country?


    Reply to Mr. Mohan (642445),

    "Some politicians are still immature and they do not know their writing on the social media". What is the meaning of this statement? I'm confused! The freedom of speech and expression is for all the citizens. Should a person really need maturity to express his views?

  • #642483
    There are three types of people, one set of people intentionally raise controversial statements to seek the attention of the public and the media. Another set of people just like that express their views without having much knowledge on the issue. The third analyzes the issue and express their viewpoints. Sometimes the analytical results may have some valid points against the opponent. If the opinions and the viewpoints raised by the analytical group are targeted against any political parties or the ruling government, we tend to see some immediate reactions like police arrests, controversial actions and counter statements from the powerful opponents. So, at that point, the freedom of speech of a person is killed and on seeing these types of stressful and threatening situations, obviously, another person will not raise their voice or expresses their views against any issues. Can't a citizen express his views or raise statements on the activities of the government? Being a citizen of a democratic country, one has the right to express his views on all issues. If the freedom of speech and expression applies only to the Government, then how can we say that the freedom of speech is alive in our country?

  • #642568
    Freedom of speech is one of our fundamental rights and nobody can deny that. But every freedom comes with responsibility. It is also our responsibility not to hurt someone's feelings. Hurting somebody and criticizing somebody is entirely different. We have the freedom of speech, but that does not mean we can abuse somebody with a foul language. Many posts in social media do spread hatred towards a person, which is a crime. Healthy debates and criticism are always welcome and people must be aware of it.

    No government can tolerate criticism and always try to stifle the protester's voice, be it the general public or the media. We are not aware of our rights and the government in power knows that. Here the media has to play a significant role to express our voice of protest, but many a times the media becomes the stooge of the ruling dispensation. This has to go and the media must become apolitical and stand by the people of this country to express their views.

    Sankalan

    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #642569
    Soundharya what I mean is right. For example the Congress President Rahul Gandhi is very poor in creating statements on social media and his one word mistake also brings greater trolling defaming him. I can state many such statements here, but ISC would remove this response and hence I am restricting only to the discussing point. Since I have very active participation in the social media I get the feeds from all the politicians and especially from the Congress and Rahul Gandhi is really enjoyable because it has mistakes and reason to respond. So the freedom of expression is not made in the right mode.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #642577
    Let me express my viewpoints again. Let me try to explain it more clearly.

    Some one has criticized me. He has the right to criticize. I feel that his criticism is unfair. I defend myself. That is also my right. Right to defend is directly related to the right to criticize. It is also a part and parcel of freedom of expression.

    Parties are attacking/criticizing the ruling party. It is within the purview of their freedom of expression. The ruling party must defend itself. That also is a part of freedom of expression. The author must be very clear about it.

    And if we compare the situation of freedom of expression of common people, it has definitely improved than the freedom of expression they enjoyed 20 years ago. Absolutely no doubt about it.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #642622
    Yes! Would I be on the wrong path if I say that there is an undeclared emergency? I think so. If I cannot express my views without being questioned, where is our freedom? I would be stamped as a liberal or an anti-nationalist if I express an opinion against Sri Modi or the BJP. If criticizing the government or the ruling party can make you an opponent, how would you conceive freedom? And moreover, just think about the mob mentality that has become quite regular. If such people or groups are being given the power(imagine where they get it from) I doubt whether there will be a law of the land. It is indeed a sad state of affairs where there is no actual governance; being a rule by interested parties.
    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #642629
    "Yes! Would I be on the wrong path if I say that there is an undeclared emergency?"----99% people will say that the person is on the wrong path. There is no undeclared emergency; there is no censorship in India.

    Other Members of ISC would surely endorse this view. Let them also submit their valuable comments.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #642631
    Partha, how can you vouch for the 99%? Are you that sure? Say for yourself, not for others. Let them have their own and independent opinions. Can we have freedom of expression? Without any bindings?
    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #642633
    1. Freedom of expression doesn't merely mean to criticize a political party. It enables people to talk and discuss freely on various issues. ISC is an excellent example of freedom of expression in this country.

    2. Earlier 1% people tried to mold the opinion of the remaining 99% people in India. Now, by virtue of education and availability of information, a significant portion of the remaining 99% are not falling prey to the propaganda of the 1%. So, this 1% is getting restless.

    3. I request other Members to express their opinion of the issue. Do they feel their freedom of expression is curtailed? If yes, how. If not, please indicate that freely and fearlessly.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #642639
    I agree with the author that we don't have absolute freedom of expression because Article 19 (1)(a) of our Constitution itself says that we have freedom of expression with reasonable restriction. These restrictions are such that the freedom of speech should not disturb security and integrity of the country, public order, decency, morality, etc. and it should not defame others.
    I can say we can have complete freedom of speech in India if we talk in an objective manner and not taking sides with any political party. If we always talk against the Government or the Opposition in all the matters, then there will definitely be curtailment of freedom of expression because the the reasonable restrictions also include that defaming others is not allowed be it the Government, Opposition or an individual.

  • #642676
    Its all look good to say to others. There is nothing called freedom of expression or may be no one exactly know what it is!

    If I am a boss or authority person, I would never like that my subordinates should speak up to me! But, the same opinion get changes when I myself not heard?

    Its all nothing but " jiski lathi uski bhais", (those who have powers are always correct).

  • #642763
    Yes, Mr. Jeet Singh's observation is very logical, "those who have powers are always correct". If you are inside your room, you consider yourself free because anytime you can go out of it. Now, suppose you are locked up in a room and the key is with somebody else, you are not free because you cannot come out of the room according to your choice. In most of the cases the common man doesn't have the key with them. When they criticize or express resentment against the ruling dispensation, the ruling parties apply the key to lock them up. Another key is the different Articles, pertaining to freedom of expression in our constitution.

    All those Articles have proper guidelines and if those guidelines are not followed then you are violating the rule. On the other hand the concept of absolute freedom is very dangerous, it means anybody can do anything according to own choice. Nobody will follow any rule and there will be anarchy. Since every system is guided by certain rules, the legal fraternity should come up with an idea to educate every person about the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and regulations associated with it.

    Sankalan

    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #642767
    I don't get it if the author comes up with the below comment,

    "Does the freedom of speech apply only to the Government? "

    Are we targeting the NDA government here? If this remains the case, then the author did hesitate to write this or had thought of 100 times before writing this. Please note that only a section of society has created a nuisances in the context of the "Freedom Of Speech" and in here we can be evident of the same section or a group of persons who can be seen criticizing the government during any debates being the NGO or the opposition party or the so-called the minority sections who uses "fatwa" against the elected PM of India.

    Have you ever have wondered of who is actually deprived of the freedom of speech here?

  • #643141
    Reply to Mr. Sankalan Bhattacharya (#642568).

    "No government can tolerate criticism and always try to stifle the protester's voice, be it the general public or the media. We are not aware of our rights and the government in power knows that".

    We are living in a democratic nation and the people hold the high power to elect the government. Not everyone in a country will be satisfied with the ruling party. Some oppositions, criticisms, disruptions and dislikes arise among the public. The Government is of the people, by the people and for the people. If the government is for the people, then obviously the general public has the right to criticize or question the government. Is it an offense to question the government? Why can't the government tolerate criticism? It is the responsibility of the Government to listen to the criticisms of the general public and to make the necessary actions or to resolve the problems of the public.

    "We are not aware of our rights and the government in power knows that". Can you clarify your statement?

  • #643143
    Reply to Mr. Saji Ganesh( #642622)

    Going on the wrong path is not correct and is always wrong. But I agree with your statement "I would be stamped as a liberal or an anti-nationalist if I express an opinion". As you said, even if we move on the wrong path or go against any rules of the government, our higher authorities and the people who are in power will directly jump to a conclusion without questioning or will never ask the reason for violating the rules. Even if we explain our point, the authorities will never listen to the views of a common man and will stamp that person as an anti-nationalist. Yes! Finally, the freedom of speech and expression will be killed at that moment. This is what is happening in our country most of the times.

    Reply to Mr. Ved Prakash Anand( #642767)

    Sorry! I am not targeting the NDA Government. Keep the higher authorities, ruling parties (both central and state government) and the opponent parties aside and think from the perspective of a common man, who is a citizen of a democratic India. The criticisms and the debates between the ruling party and the opposition parties are quite common in our country. The people who are involved in politics often raise political statements, criticise the government, participate in debates and prove their political presence. Most of the times, the actions of the politicians appear as political stunts. But that is not the case with the general public. Even if a common man expresses his/her ideas or views against any social issues, then the reaction for that statement would be different.

    For example- Hope, you would have come across the threats faced by Divya Bharathi, an activist, a woman film-maker for discussing manual scavenging on her documentary film 'Kakkoos'(Toilet). Similarly, we can point to many such examples that have happened in India for expressing the views and I feel our country is still facing denial in freedom of speech and expression.

  • #643145
    Ms. Soundharya, I give you an example here.

    I haven't been long to this ISC site but many times I have seen the threads being raised showing dissatisfaction in context to the deletion of few of the submissions or of the complete threads. Could you just let us know about why so?

  • #643250
    Mr. Ved Prakash Anand,

    I would like to highlight the statement stated by Mr. Partha in his response #642633.
    "Freedom of expression doesn't merely mean to criticize a political party. It enables people to talk and discuss freely on various issues. ISC is an excellent example of freedom of expression in this country".

    In addition to Mr. Partha's statement, I would like to mention a few more responses. "Should there be any restriction or limitations on freedom of speech?" is one question which I have raised in this thread. For that question, I have received many responses from some ISC members. Mentioning the responses here for your reference

    1. I feel the freedom of expression should be there but with certain rules and regulations to govern the social media posts (#642466)
    2. Freedom of speech is one of our fundamental rights and nobody can deny that. But every freedom comes with responsibility. It is also our responsibility not to hurt someone's feelings. Healthy debates and criticism are always welcome and people must be aware of it. (#642568)
    3. We have freedom of expression with reasonable restriction. The freedom of speech should not disturb the security and integrity of the country, public order, decency, morality, etc. and it should not defame others. (#642639)
    4. All articles have proper guidelines and if those guidelines are not followed then you are violating the rule. On the other hand, the concept of absolute freedom is very dangerous; it means anybody can do anything according to own choice. (#642763)

    On an average, the ISC members who have responded to this thread have clearly stated that the freedom of speech should have some restrictions and proper guidelines. I too agree with their statement. Yes! Freedom of speech should have some restrictions. Also, I agree with Mr. Partha's statement. ISC is definitely one good platform to express a person's views freely.

    Since you are targeting ISC, I would like to say a few words about the freedom of speech in ISC. I don't find any denial in the freedom of speech in ISC. All the ISC members are given the right to freedom of speech and expression with some restrictions in the ISC platform. ISC is not a social media website like Facebook or Twitter. India Study Channel is an educational website which strictly follows some policies and guidelines. Violating the policies of ISC may obviously lead to the deletion of the posts or contents. I don't find anything wrong with ISC regarding the freedom of expression. It always provides a wide platform to discuss freely and also encourages suggestions from the members, which I feel is missing in democratic India.

  • #643253
    No one in good society would agreed to the uncontrollable "freedom of speech". Obviously, there must be some restrictions whether it is in our country or ISC as you have said it. However, if you say that ISC is 90% perfect on their rules and regulations, you are either trying to close your eyes and stand on the support of the admin or you do not want to talk against them. True, ISC has their own rules and regulations but saying that deletions are done only to the content which are against of the policy, is 100% wrong.

    Their are contents which has been deleted just because the admin do not want to hear their mistakes! There are content which has been deleted which they do not have the answer! Why so?

    If such kind of freedom of expressions which are true and fact, get deletions than I am sure there is a big "hole" in our system and ISC.

  • #643255
    Ms. Soundharya,

    One question. If certain terms & conditions have been created & are being allowed in order to run this ISC then why the same can't be possible & applicable to our nation as a whole?

    This needs to be understood here but the problem with our country & with our nation is that the individuals along with the different political parties & NGO's are having to different or very diversified backgrounds & while at the same time have been adopted to certain terms & conditions or to the norms & come-up with their reactions accordingly. These selective approaches are arranged in order to serve their agendas. These agendas are not for the upliftments of the poor or the weaker sections of our society but only for their own benefits. This same group of individuals or the sections of society including the political parties & the NGO's have developed with new concepts like the "mob lynching", the "saffron terror", the "cow lynching" & so on. This is not so that these never existed during the regimes of the previous governments but as the opposition parties or the leftists don't have left with the options & so creating a brainwash by diverting from the common causes of growth & development.

    To the information of the readers here, the Indian society is not so mature & open to the various contents of the broadcastings like the nudity or the sex scenes. This also includes the broadcastings wherein a particular community has been targeted & therefore restriction follows.

    We must also be aware of the below fact-

    The Information & Broadcasting ministry has passed an order to "prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of NDTV India channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hrs on 9th November 2016 till 00:01 hrs of 10th November 2016".

    On its reaction, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry says the action was taken against the channel because it had revealed sensitive details, such as the location of the ammunition depot, school and residential areas in its coverage of the Pathankot attack.

    This crucial information could have been readily picked up by the terrorists' handlers and jeopardised national security as well as the lives of civilians and defence personnel.

    You mentioned of, "Divya Bharathi, an activist, a woman film-maker for discussing manual scavenging on her documentary film 'Kakkoos'(Toilet)". Could you please let the readers know about what this documentary actually consists of?

  • #643259
    Members,
    The Tamil documentary film 'Kakkoos' directed by Divya Bharathi is available on Youtube with English subtitles. Those who wish to know about manual scavenging can watch the film on Youtube for free.

  • #643261
    Ms. Soundharya,

    You raised the topic of "freedom of speech and expression being denied in India? " but not interested or being hesitating. Why so?


    Editor's note: Ved Prakash, please do not use HTML tags in forums. Refer guidelines in this connection.

  • #643263
    Freedom of speech and expression can never be absolute; there have to be restrictions. But to what extent is the question. Freedom does not mean that you can get to a public road without any clothes on and can start abusing people moving around; freedom does not mean that you can ring up someone and start talking obscene things with him/ her and many more things like that. Each and every restriction cannot be listed but we, as citizens, need to be responsible as members of a society and behave accordingly.
    Criticising a person or an organisation is permissible as long as you do it in a decent manner and you must also be ready to accept a counter-criticism if it comes from the other side. Freedom of speech and expression does passively include the responsibility to hear and accept the other side too. And this exactly is the point where the discussion takes the unacceptable turn. We are in a situation where one side claims an absolute right to say anything about people who oppose them (politically, socially or ideologically) and the other side is criticised if they express their opinion. There is a concerted effort (need not be from governments) to silence all dissenting voices which definitely puts us in doubt whether the freedom of expression is being denied or at least that it is not being ensured.

    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #643268
    Mr. Saji Ganesh,

    I agree with your views but who will decide about what should be the boundary line inhere so as to no one carries the objection? Is it possible?

  • #643271
    Ved Prakash, I have already mentioned that all the restrictions cannot be listed and we have to be aware that we are social beings and should behave as responsible citizens. Actual freedom can only be ensured when one is ready to accept ( may not and need not agree) the ideas and views of others while expressing your own.
    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #643273
    Saji Sir, I acknowledge & appreciate your views here.

  • #643275
    Mr. Ved Prakash Anand,

    I raised this thread, just to know the views of the members regarding the freedom of speech and expression in India. I am happy that many members have recorded their responses freely. Not everyone will view a topic from the same angle. I'm not hesitant or disinterested on the topic. Should I counter-attack each and every statement of the members? I don't think so, because I'm closely observing the facts and the statements of the members. Thanks for mentioning some important facts of which I was unaware. It has induced me to view the topic in a different shade. Also, I have a strong belief in the statement of Mr. Saji Ganesh in his response #643263 "Freedom of speech and expression does passively include the responsibility to hear and accept the other side too".

  • #643278

  • #643281

  • #643305
    A lovely thread getting side-tracked.

    Freedom of speech and expression is never free in the true sense in India or most countries for that matter.

    Just imagine the dynamics in an Indian home. Do you think everyone has the right to express and speak their minds and intentions? No, not always. Similarly, in an apartment complex, locality, workplace etc.

    Can I make a comment that religion X or Y is very bad for the country and get away?
    Can I say that a prominent Mr.X or Mrs.Y is hopeless?
    Can I say that I don't feel like getting up in the movie theatres during the national anthem?
    No, I can't
    What I mean is this freedom is on paper but in practice, it comes with a few restrictions at the extreme ends.

    So, instead of asking this question, I think we should discuss are we using the freedom of speech and expression with an unquestionable degree of responsibility towards to the society and the nation?

  • #643354

  • #643355
    [Response removed by Admin. Read forum policies.]

  • #643378
    [Response removed by Admin. Read forum policies.]

  • #643384
    [Response removed by Admin. Read forum policies.]


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