Monday, November 28, 2011

Free speech and defamation

by D.Dhanuraj

Three events or incidents caught my attention in the recent past. Though they are three different contexts, I tend to look through the angle of freedom of expression and personal choice.

Hon.Kerala High Court punished comrade Jayarajan for calling the judges 'Shumbhan'. Later, he was given bail by Hon. Supreme Court. Not getting into the legality of the issues here, I started myself asking this question; 'Who is Mr Jayarajan?'. He is not a minister or not an MLA while he had these remarks on Judges. He is a state committee member to CPI(M). then the next question splashes across my mind; why should people listen to him? in fact, it has been the volume of the followers to his speech that got him into trouble. But there is no twitter or face book fan following pages reflecting the popularity and damage he has caused to the system by such remarks. then who is culpable? all the visual channels and print media had given adequate coverage for the reported speech. I am wondering if they had not given him that kind of coverage to his purported speech on several occasions, what would have irked Hon High Court and the petitioner? so, arent we looking at the brand image of a CPI(M) leader in an incurious way? how many state committee leaders of CPI (M) gets such a reception in the media? how can we say that national executive committee members of different parties in India do not indulge in acts as comrade Jayarajan had risked. Whom to blame here? or is there any blame at all?

Second incident is related to the banning of the film 'Dam999'. if the above logic is applied, the whole media shall be banned before banning the film. No Government has any right to ban any art form citing some mischievous reason. if that is the case, how are they different from fundamentalist forces and Taliban?I also believe that the decision makers are living in a different world completely detached from online and smart phone era. Even, I am against the philosophy behind the sensor boards. if Government bans the film, then the first organisation to be dismantled is Censor Board as they only gave the certification. In both the cases, it looks so funny.

Third event is that of the media restrain on Baby Bachan. If the same media had taken such a step in Jayarajan's case, it would not have ended up in wasting so many man hours and prime time TRPs. If someone had tried to follow acts and commissions of Tamil Nadu Government, they media would have received severe punishment for eulogizing comrade Jayarajan. If the Director of the film had followed the logic of the petitioner in the defamation suite, he would have ended up filing a defamation case against Tamil Nadu Government.

Now, I am confused and getting weired results from these permutations and combinations. so lets try what media did on a self regulatory way in Baby Bachan's issue until these wielding powers are debated and removed from the lexicon..

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