Ground Report | New Delhi: Is too much Freedom of Speech a Threat to Indian Democracy?; George Orwell once said, “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”. Freedom of speech is not a challenge to democracy, however, misuse of the law by spreading propaganda and hate speech in the name of freedom of speech is a threat to democracy.
Freedom of Speech has a negative connotation attached to it in today’s world. Although our country is advancing and promoting technological development, we are moving backwards as a society. In India freedom of speech is guaranteed by Article 19 (1) of the constitution which guarantees freedom of speech with reasonable restrictions under Article 19 (2).
The Actual Enemy and a Considerable Challenge:
Today, hate speech has caused havoc in the country while hiding behind a mask of freedom of speech. As we know that appearance can be deceptive, so can be seen in the laws created by the central government. The laws such as the unlawful activities protection act (UAPA) and national security act (NSA) have been used as a weapon to curb the dissented voice. Freedom of speech has been used by far left and far right as nothing but a puppet to spread propaganda, fake news, and hate speech. The new generation raises its voice via the internet against the ordeal caused by the authorities but this voice can also be curbed by those in power, resulting in shut down of the internet or arresting people behind their devices.
In 1984, George Orwell’s novel states “big brother is watching you” and that “hate speech is freedom” clearly summarizes the above statements. We as a society are responsible for giving enough power to the politicians who don’t have enough knowledge to hold the position they are at, let alone use it to curb the voices who have had enough wisdom and knowledge to know what’s right for them.
There are a million visible examples that can be seen demonstrating the words stated so far. The country can be seen politicians getting away with statements like “women should enjoy rape” and “Muslim women should be raped” and killing those who don’t agree with their ideology.
What Can be Done?
The fact that extremists at both ends are misusing the law to establish what they stand for is an understatement. In the US, Trump was easily seen getting away with derogatory remarks towards women and racist remarks towards people of colour. The far left could also be seen getting away with misbehaving with women of other parties and disregarding the decorum of parliament under the name of freedom of speech.
We as a society need to have a law that protects the freedom of speech and its definition as defined by the constitution instead of curbing the dissenting voices. People need to come forward and ask for the kind of politician and authorities they deserve instead of being mobbed by one. It’s high time we realize the power of our votes and ask our younger, educated generation to set a foot forward and take initiative in being a lawmaker and not just choosing one.
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