Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fictive Rights

Had it not been for Slashdot picking up on this news story about the Indian Supreme Court censoring bloggers, I would have thought it was TOI being sensational and reporting irresponsibly as usual. Unfortunately, they do seem to have their story right this time. It would be a very sad thing to have this 19-year old kid lose his right to freedom of speech and the right to express an opinion - it would be the beginning of the end.

The little that I remember from reading my Civics text book in high-school, those rights are guaranteed in the Indian constitution - or so they lead us to believe in the over-simplified text that they had us memorize and regurgitate at school. The kid in the middle of this fracas was under the same impression as well.

Apparently, our education is lacking and we don't have our fundamental rights straight. Should the worse happen and the criminal proceedings do get under way, I wonder if that would give the courts carte blanche to go after every blogger who voices dissent or is generally perceived as fomenting trouble for the powerful and well-connected. The Chaddi Campaign with its potential to offend would probably be in their cross-hairs fairly quickly. That is worrisome.

Just when you as a desi, were beginning to enjoy the empowerment of the common person thanks to social media , revel in grassroots organizations having their voices heard and the general rise of citizen journalism, along come the Justices and pour rain on our collective parade.

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