A statement from concerned students and teachers
What does one do sitting in the middle of an audience roaring with laughter at jokes that one might find downright humiliating? Laugh along, retire hurt, or ask people to stop? It’s a dilemma that many of us on the ‘wrong’ side of various lines of privilege (caste, class, gender, race) and those sensitive to these divisions often find ourselves in. Some students at the National Law University, Delhi seem to have been put in a similar situation when during their annual college fest, comedian Avish Mathew of AIB Roast fame would not stop amusing his audience with one offensive joke after another. They first decided to walk out and then came back with a placard saying, “Get out you sexist pig!”
Continue reading Dealing with ‘sexist pigs’? Reflections on the feminist protest against AIB’s Avish Mathew at National Law University, Delhi: A Statement
Fettering the Fourth Estate: Free Speech in 2012
A report of the Free Speech Hub of the Hoot.org
The year 2012 ended with a Kannada TV reporter, Naveen Soorinje, in jail for more than fifty days after the Karnataka High Court denied him bail. Mangalore-based Soorinje, was incarcerated from November 7, 2012 after police charged him under the UAPA and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for reporting on the raid on a homestay party by a Hindu fundamentalist group in July. Soorinje’s bail application was rejected on December 26.
The same month, a television journalist, Nanao Singh, was shot dead in a police firing in Manipur.
In 2012, India was a grim place for free speech. It recorded the death of five journalists. Another 38 were assaulted, harassed or threatened. There were 43 instances of curbs on the Internet, 14 instances of censorship in the film and music industry, and eight instances of censorship of content in the print medium. Continue reading Fettering the fourth estate: Free Speech in 2012
Text of talk on receiving an honorary doctorate at the University of Johannesburg, 25 May, 2010
MAHMOOD MAMDANI, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
This text was sent to us by Sujata Patel
It warms my heart to see these flowing gowns. I congratulate you on work accomplished! For over a millennium, these gowns have been a symbol of high learning from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. Should anyone ask you where they came from, tell them that the early universities of Europe – Oxford, Cambridge, le Sorbonne – borrowed them from the Islamic madressa of the Middle East. If they should seem incredulous, tell them that the gown did not come by itself: because medieval European scholars borrowed from the madressa much of the curriculum, from Greek philosophy to Iranian astronomy to Arab medicine and Indian mathematics, they had little difficulty in accepting this flowing gown, modeled after the dress of the desert nomad, as the symbol of high learning. Should they still express surprise, ask them to take a second look at the gowns of the ayatollahs in Iran and Iraq and elsewhere and they will see the resemblance. Education has no boundaries. Neither does it have an end. As the Waswahili in East Africa, which is where I come from, say: elimu haina muisho. Continue reading Beware Bigotry – Free Speech and the Zapiro Cartoons: Mahmood Mamdani
Omid Reza Misayafi was a blogger.
That is not why he has lost his life in prison.
It’s because of what he wrote.
While I still dont have a copy of the order/ judgment, there have been news reports about the Supreme Court holding that a person who starts a blog/ community page cannot claim that it was a community page and not meant for public consumption. I will update this the moment I get hold of the order, but just wanted to flag this for the moment, because of the serious implications that it can have. While bloggers and web content have always been subject to the same rules that determine other forms of publication, there are a number of issues and questions involved in the liability of online content, including whether the author of a blog can be held liable for comments / posts by others. Continue reading Supreme Court on Liability of Bloggers