Guest Post by Prabodh Jamwal
Two of Kashmir’s leading newspapers, Kashmir Times and Rising Kashmir said that Jammu and Kashmir police raided their office on Saturday night, seized their printed copies and arrested their employees – a clear act of choking and gagging media in crisis-hit Kashmir valley. Copies of other newspapers, including Kashmir Reader and Kashmir Observer were also seized and their circulation prevented.
Continue reading Police in Kashmir Raid Newspaper Bureaus, Detain Employees, Seize Copies: Prabodh Jamwal
This post is co-authored by Aarti Sethi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta
Dinanath Batra is at it again. Not content with having bullied Penguin and Aleph into withdrawing Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindus: An Alternative History”, and “On Hinduism”, respectively, he has now trained his guns on Orient Blackswan. And, in what seems to be emerging as a frighteningly predictable pattern, Orient Blackswan has succumbed to Dinanath Batra’s “legal suits”, not just by agreeing to consider the withdrawal of a book that had attracted Batra’s attention, but also by withdrawing another book, on sexual violence during communal riots in Gujarat, as a ‘preventive measure’ regardless of the fact that it had not even been targeted by Batra and his organization. Clearly these are interesting times for publishing in India.
There is no need to rehash arguments on the importance of free speech and the circulation of books and words and texts. These have been extensively discussed here on Kafila, and everywhere else. At this stage it might be useful to simply clarify some pressing “legal” matters as there seems to be a bewildering confusion rife amongst publishers as to what exactly a legal notice is. Thus, to begin:
What a Legal Notice Is:
A Legal Notice is a grouse sent by registered post and has the same legal standing. Namely, none whatsoever. Any crank with half an hour, a typewriter and money for postage can send a legal notice to anyone about anything. You do not even have to get a lawyer to draft it. You just need a few minutes on the internet where pre-drafted forms are available for free. Or, just for fun, try drafting one yourself. Since it has no legal validity anyway, be creative! Continue reading #youhadonejob: Or, A Quick Legal Primer for Publishers. Or, What (Not) to Do When Dinanath (and other busybodies) Strike
Statement by Concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals: Ananya Vajpeyi, Sheldon Pollock, Partha Chatterjee, Laurie Patton, Romila Thapar, David Shulman and many others
We the undersigned are appalled by the recent settlement reached between Dina Nath Batra for the Shiksha Bachao Andolan and Penguin Books India, to cease the publication of Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History (Penguin USA 2009; Penguin India 2010), and to withdraw and destroy remaining copies of the book on Indian territory. Continue reading Demand to Reconsider and Revise Sections 153a and 295a of the Indian Penal Code to Protect Freedom of Expression in India: Concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals
There’s a time for everything. When a cartoonist is being arrested for his cartoons, for cartoons that caused no harm, incited no violence, killed no people, then do you discuss his art or his incarceration? Continue reading Aseem Trivedi and the guardians of good taste
Following in the wake of the declarations of the well known Internet idiot, who doubles as the honorable minister of telecommunications of the Union of India, an esteemed additional civil judge of a Delhi court has also decided to issue an ex-parte order commanding Social Media networks, Facebook and Youtube to remove 21 (or is it 22?) ‘objectionable’ websites that ‘offend religious sentiments’.
This has been done in response to please entered by a ‘journalist’, a certain Mr. Vinay Rai, and a certain Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, who also delivers online fatwas on a variety of subjects, ranging from the very intimate to the magnificently cosmic. It is wonderful to behold the learned court acting with such sensitivity to the joint plea of two honorable Hindu-Muslim worthies. Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Isai – busybodies of every stripe seem to have little other work to do than police and control what can and cannot be said online, shown in a film, performed in a play or depicted in an art work. And our ‘secular’ civil society, and the lower ranks of the judiciary faithfully acquiesce to their every demand. Continue reading Why ban just a Facebook page when you can erase a holy book or two (or more)?