Friday, March 12, 2010

Free speech is increasingly under attack in the world's most populous democracy

Free speech is increasingly under attack in the world's most populous democracy.
BY SALIL TRIPATHI | Wall Street Journal, Mar 12 2010

Indians boast of living in the world's most populous democracy, and rightly so. Regular elections and vigorous public debate are a rebuke to anyone who thinks that liberty can't flourish in a large, largely poor, culturally and linguistically diverse country. But in one area of life officials' concerns for keeping peace between various religious and ethnic groups is threatening a core freedom: speech.

In a little-noticed case on Feb. 26, police in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh arrested Macha Laxmaiah, an author who writes using the pseudonym Krantikar ("revolutionary"), and his distributors, including Innaiah Narisetti, president of the Hyderabad-based nonprofit Center for Inquiry, for "hurting the sentiments of Muslims." Their alleged crime? The distribution of "Crescent Over the World," a book including contributions from Salman Rushdie, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, and a cartoon from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Mr. Narisetti is out on bail now; Mr. Laxmaiah remains in custody.


Continues here.

Narisetti is a friend of mine and a CFI representative.

6 comments:

Paul P. Mealing said...

It's worth reading the whole article.

We are unaware of how lucky we are, and that real democracy is the exception, not the rule.

The health of a democracy can be measured by its media - it's usually political censorship that's the problem, not religious censorship.

In a country like India it's about cultural identity. When people feel that their identity is threatened they are willing to die and kill for it. This is the cause of most conflicts in the world. Identity can be familial, national, political, religious, race or cultural. Humans have more ways to discriminate against 'others' than any other species. It's the bane of the human race.

Regards, Paul.

DM said...

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Martin said...

I appreciate that Narisetti is a close associate, but I think I would like to see the publication, and gained a greater understanding of the Indian legal code before I commented on this case, so I reserve my judgement here.

BTW: the core freedom being threatened here MUST either be 'free speech', OR 'freedom of speech' (these are different and should not be confused). Speech itself is not threatened in this context, you should still feel free to speak out as you see fit, on whatever subject, subject to the normal considerations of manners and taste.

Marypierce said...

This is the cause of most conflicts in the world. Identity can be familial, national, political, religious, race or cultural.


Dui Attorney

DM said...

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DM said...

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and you will be saved from the FIRE...