Free Speech, Recent Incidents of Bans, Why Protect Freedom of Speech?

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Recent Incidents of Bans

  • A K Ramanujan’s essay ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas’ was dropped from the DU syllabus

  • Rohinton Mistry’s ‘Such a long journey’ was dropped from the Mumbai University syllabus

  • Movies like Aarakshan, Bandit Queen, Water etc. have been banned by some state governments

  • India was the first country to ban Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’

Why Protect Freedom of Speech?

  • Self-government argument: For a robust democratic process. It is essential for people to communicate on political matters, which in turn enables them to fully participate in democratic affairs

  • Laissez faire argument: in a marketplace of ideas, the better ideas eventually prevail through competition. It is essential in a society’s search for truth, which will ultimately emerge after a competition of all ideas in the marketplace

  • Freedom of speech as promotion of every individual’s self-fulfilment and autonomy. This rationale posits that protection of free speech is essential for human identity. To be fully human, it is essential to protect thoughts.

  • India’s constitutional tradition strongly supports freedom of speech.

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