LIVE: Can the Press Speak? Discussion on Press Freedom in India

Tune in to The Quint’s webinar on press freedom ft Patricia Mukhim, Aakar Patel & Anuradha Bhasin on the panel.

Updated20 Jun 2020, 08:55 AM IST
Opinion
2 min read

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India states that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression. This right is the foundation of freedom of the press as well, so that they can speak truth to power without worrying about fear and favour.

However, persecution of journalists is a ground reality in today's India.

In just the last one week, an FIR was filed against Scroll journalist Supriya Sharma for her report on impact of lockdown in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi, and two other FIRs against senior journalist and Padma Shri awardee Vinod Dua in Delhi and in Shimla, respectively, for his investigation into the Northeast Delhi violence in February.

As the fourth pillar of democracy is undermined, a significant question is – 'Can the press speak?' Join The Quint's Opinions Editor Nishtha Gautam as she discusses the tenets of press freedom in India with columnist Aakar Patel; Anuradha Bhasin, Editor, Kashmir Times; and Patricia Mukhim, Editor, Shillong Times.

Justice SR Sen of Meghalaya High Court, who retired after passing a contempt order against Patricia Mukhim, took exception to a number of articles published in The Shillong Times. Contempt of court is a powerful tool that allows courts to ensure obedience with its directions and must be exercised reasonably. This did not seem to happen in Mukhim’s case.

In Aakar Patel’s case, an FIR had been lodged against the columnist and activist by the Bengaluru Police over his tweet that allegedly instigated marginalised and minority communities in India to protest along the lines of ‘Black Lives Matter’ rallies taking place across the US. His Twitter account was "withheld in India in response to a legal demand".

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Published: 19 Jun 2020, 11:40 AM IST
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