What is the news?
The Supreme Court in an order has urged the political class to be more tolerant of each other’s opinion while maintaining a temperate language in their critiques.
Background: The order came after West Bengal informed the court that it had no objection to the quashing of FIRs registered on the basis of reports in ‘OpIndia’ portal. FIRs were registered by the West Bengal Police in connection with some news stories published by the portal.
‘OpIndia’ editor Nupur Sharma and other petitioners had moved the court, saying the FIRs amounted to an abuse of law and suppression of Press freedom.
Quashing the FIRs, the court said that what the petitioners had done was to reproduce what the political class has stated against each other and which is already in public domain.
What are the observations made by the SC?
The court observed that:
– State force should not be used to browbeat (intimidating someone into doing something) a political opinion, and journalists should not be made to suffer the consequences of reporting on what is already in the public domain.
– The political class across the country should introspect on the debasement in dialogue which was taking place.
– Also, the journalists should not forget their responsibilities while reporting, especially so in the Twitter age.
– In a country which prides itself on its diversity, there are bound to be different perceptions and opinions, which would include political opinions. That is the very essence of a democracy.
– The political exchanges may get heated, but differences in perceptions can always be expressed in a better language.
Source: This post is based on the article “SC says scribes should not suffer for reporting on what is already in public domain” published in The Hindu on 10th Dec 2021 and “Difference in perception can be expressed in better language: Supreme Court” published in The Indian Express on 11th Dec 2021.