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Source: This post is based on the article “Guarding democracy” published in the Times of India on 30th August 2021.
Relevance: To understand the significance of free speech.
Synopsis: The governments seek to suppress free speech. However, no vibrant democracy can be formed if it lacks free speech.
The article highlights the importance of democracy in the public sphere. The essence of which is in the participation of the public in the decision-making process.
But for that to happen, citizens should be adequately informed. The health of any democracy rests on the foundation of governments being truthful about the current state of affairs.
What is the role of citizens in ensuring a democratic process:
- They should ensure that media is free, especially when it is giving a critique of public institutions.
However, the government at times seeks to silence criticism. This is evident through recently introduced Information Technology Rules. It imposes Draconian restrictions on a digital medium that is fast growing. A consequence will be that fake news, which undermines the health of a democracy, will proliferate through other digital platforms.
How can we strengthen democracy?
- Education: Both the education system and democracy work well when children are allowed to develop a temperament that allows them to pose questions to power. Thus, education is the key to strengthening a vibrant democracy.
- Elections: Voting is a right in India, something that people in many other countries cannot take for granted. However, this right needs more involvement from India’s more privileged citizens.
The commitment to search for truth is a key aspiration of our society. The best way to realize this goal is to allow the plurality that characterizes Indian society free expression.
Thus, it can be said that democracy produces the best results when it creates a platform for multiple opinions.