“The right to free speech is integral to democracy”

I would restate it like so – “The right to free speech is integral to democracy [when our reporters are attacked. Otherwise, we don’t give a damn].”-

The right to free speech is integral to democracy. Most countries in the subcontinent have an uneven record in building and protecting democratic institutions. Even in countries like India, where democracy has flourished, democratic values, which include freedom of speech and expression, aren’t shared uniformly. Some political and religious groups have resorted to violence against the media on grounds of perceived insults. Unfortunately, public institutions expected to safeguard the freedom of expression have preferred to bow to the dictates of illiberal groups, rather than stand by the media.

That, if I am not horribly mistaken, partly refers to the Statesman episode and the secular communists of West Bengal – without naming either of them and hoping that people have already read the news on the wires, foreign newspapers and blogs.

This will be the last time I mention the “freedom of the press,” or support them in any way. They don’t deserve it. In any case the media is not “special” – they are just like any other business.

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  • you12  On February 27, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    I doubt whether free speech is essential for a democracy. All you need is a government selected term by term and voting rights for everybody. The only essential right in a democracy is voting, all other rights if provided are a luxury but they are hardly necessary.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On February 27, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    If democracy refers to an open society, then the absolute right to free speech is essential; if it refers, however, to plain majoritarianism – mobocracy – which is actually the case all over the world today, then no, the right is not essential – voting will do just fine.

  • warthog  On February 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    we are are just debating while in US the states are doing something they should have done a long time

    the revolution would not be televised

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