Snuffing Dissent

freedom of speech (media, control, censorship)Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. The law states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”.

Google-Speak: The following is taken directly from Google in response to queries posted by people there.

“What is the right to freedom of expression?

It is the right to express one’s ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing, and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others’ character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements. Freedom of press is part of freedom of expression.

What does free expression mean?

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

What is freedom of thought and expression?

Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others’ viewpoints. It is different from and not to be confused with the concept of freedom of speech or expression.

Why is it important to have freedom of speech?

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It reinforces all other human rights, allowing society to develop and progress. The ability to express our opinion and speak freely is essential to bring about change in society. Free speech is important for many other reasons.

Is the freedom of speech absolute?

That fallacy is the notion that free speech is absolute. It is the belief that freedom of expression does not mean freedom to speak your mind without government interference, but freedom to speak your mind without any interference at all.

Why is the freedom of the press important in a democracy?

Freedom of expression is important for democracy, because it enables the public to participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

Why is it important to have a free press in a democracy?

Freedom of expression is crucial for a successful democracy because it lets the public participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

What does it mean to have a free press?

A body of book publishers, news media, etc., not controlled or restricted by government censorship in political or ideological matters.

What is the role of the media in a democratic society?

A democracy is a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. Media came into existence around the 1780s with the introduction of newspapers, and since then it has matured by leaps and bounds. It is the backbone of a democracy.

What is democracy in the media?

A media democracy focuses on using information technologies to both empower individual citizens and promote democratic ideals through the spread of information. Additionally, the media system itself should be democratic in its own construction shying away from private ownership or intense regulation.

What is the role of the media?

Media of today is playing an outstanding role in creating and shaping of public opinion and strengthening of society. Media is the sword arm of democracy. Media acts as watchdog to protect public interest against malpractice and create public awareness.”

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting and defending freedom of information and freedom of the press. The organization based in Paris, France, has consultant status at the United Nations. RSF has ranked India 136th of 180 countries in world press freedom ratings.

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Journalists pay tributes to recently slain journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead in Bangalore

 

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Vive-la-Liberté – Long Live Freedom

Free Speech

Free Speech

Although reacting to the Paris massacre is not in our line of work, but we are not outside world events. The tragedy has brought on mixed reactions from all across, ever since the murder of people associated with the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo. The world is decrying the horrific act by terrorists in the name of religion and most of people are floundering with regard to Freedom of Expression.

Looking back we are well aware that free speech has a long history, predating today’s world. It is a concept that had gained acceptance from times of ancient Athens, from where in fact the genesis of democratic traditions had emerged in the late 6th – early 5th century BC. The Roman Republic had incorporated the values of freedom of speech and freedom of religion back then.

In fact the notion of freedom of speech is to be found in early human rights documents of England too that had granted freedom of speech through the Bill of Rights in 1689, still effective to this day. In 1789 France also affirmed freedom of speech through The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted during the French Revolution.

Acceptance of free speech iterates the idea of free communication of ideas and opinions and remains one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen accordingly may speak, write, and print with freedom as long as it does not abuse the freedom of another. However, often one gets carried away overlooking freedom of another to spell out home truths. In such times remember the words – “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Penned by one the most famous of French men, François-Marie Arouet, better known by his pen name Voltaire, it is time to remember his advocacy for freedom of expression. Voltaire was outspoken despite threats under strict censorship laws of his time. But his satirical wit continued to criticize intolerance, and dogma. This courageous writer continued fighting for civil rights while denouncing hypocrisies and injustices of the Ancien Regime of France.

Let us then encourage a more tolerant viewpoint and remember that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It is a right that includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. In conclusion we can do well to remember George Orwell’s words – “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”