FREEDOM OF SPEECH
In India, although freedom of expression is enshrined in its Constitution, cases of intimidation and violence continue to be reported. In addition, a number of restrictive and regressive laws have hindered the complete realisation of the freedom envisioned in the Constitution.
Most recent incidents include the government initiating a day long ban of a leading news channel and another of a reporter of a leading Hindi newspaper being shot dead in Biharallegedly over his reporting of the local stone chip mafia, making it the second murder of a journalist in the state in the last six months. Incidents like these, occurring at an unfortunately high rate, underline that even after 69 years of independence, India’s democratic structure stands on a weak fourth pillar.
Internationally, India ranks 133rd out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Report 2016.
The info graphics depict the dichotomous, almost paradoxical nature of India’s experience with free speech.
The relevance of the press in any society cannot be overemphasised. A potent and effective media ensures transparency and a well informed and aware public. Yet, the grim reality is that sometimes for journalists the price of getting the news from the source to the public is too high. Below are three journalists from Russia, Ethiopia and India who have suffered in their stand against state impunity, arbitrary arrest and harassment in the line of duty.