Freedom of Speech, Terms and Conditions Applied
Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
This could well be called a sequel to my previous article “Death of the Idea of India“. Aggrieved as much we are by the steady decline of secular discourse in the country, a new situation stares us in the face. The last time i know of something of this kind happened in India, was in the 1970s. State has no business meddling in individual affairs. However, the Government of India wishes to do exactly that. Kapil Sibal, honourable Minister in charge of Telecom, announced plans to regulate contents that are posted by users on the web space.
This indeed is a dangerous proposition. The State overrides the individual’s authority to free thought and expression only in communist or autocratic nations. India is neither. The latest example of curbs on social media use among global communities was seen in China, Egypt and Syria. None of these nations are a democracy. But naturally, this decision met with a lot of outrage online (some outpourings on Twitter kind of justified the need for pre-screening, though).
Offence is relative. One man’s poison is another man’s honey! State censorship does not go down well with the foundations that the idea of India is laid on. Regulation can (and should) be left to the better judgment of an individual. Abusive, inappropriate or offensive contents can be blocked or reported about in any social network. Why does the State want to step into the fray?
Having criticised the state for faltering in its policy, it is opportune that i turn my attention to the people who cried their hearts out to defend their freedom of expression. How easily we mistake rights to be absolute and stay almost confounded about Fundamental Duties. Quite clearly, freedom of expression and speech comes with a rider. Restrictions on “freedom” can be imposed for the sake of public order, security of State, decency or morality. (But that is for the social websites to do and government must not meddle in that).
What amuses me the most is, some proponents and endorsers of bans in the past, stuck their necks out yesterday to contest this decision by GoI. Some known for their rabid support to those who hounded an artist out of this country, some known for their own history of “censorship” actions as administrative heads of state. The hypocrisy was spilling over the cup and was not only distasteful but obnoxiously unpalatable. Freedom is a matter of convenience for us. We choose to support freedom of opinion when someone agrees with me. Or else, you are doomed to be silenced.
So, dear readers, if you find this article too offensive for your neurons in the Amygdala to digest, feel free to register your freedom of expression of dissent in the comments section. I shall reserve my freedom to screen the contents that can appear in my domain 😉
About Agnivo NiyogiTypical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!
Posted on December 7, 2011, in Politics, Social Issues and tagged Article 19, BJP, Censorship, Choice, Congress, Facebook, freedom, Google, India, Kanchan Gupta, Kapil Sibal, Narendra Modi, Terms and Conditions, twitter. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.