Protect, don’t pander: On suppression of free speech

News: Bangalore’s show of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui has been cancelled owing to the fear that it would create law and order problems and disrupt peace and harmony. Police even arrested the local organizers and those selling tickets for the show which had nothing to do with the content of his performance .

A similar case has occurred where a Tamil writer declared his own “death” in a literary sense after being silenced by conservative and religious groups

What was the issue?

Munawar was unjustly arrested in Indore earlier after a complaint that he was about to denigrate Hindu gods in a planned show. He spent 37 days in jail before the Supreme Court granted him bail. Further, many of his shows got cancelled in  Raipur, Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad and Vadodara for the same reason.

What should be done to protect the Freedom of speech?

The state functionaries like police advise people to exercise caution instead of protecting their right to free speech. That practice needs to be reversed.

Also read: An updated analysis on Freedom of Speech and Expression

The supreme court in Rangarajan vs Jagjivan Ram case ruled that suppressing freedom of speech in response to the threat of protest or demonstration would be violating the concept of rule of law.

Source: This post is based on the article “Protect, don’t pander: On suppression of free speech” published in The Hindu on 1st December 2021.

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