#India – Press freedom on shaky ground #FOE #FOS


Since January, media has been under attack a number of times, with police failing to protect its rights. GEETA SESHU says all this forms a grim backdrop to World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
Posted/Updated Thursday, May 02 18:45:32, 2013, Thehoot.org

One death, one instance of arson, seven attacks on journalists and an equal number of instances of censorship in the first four months of this year in India – that’s the tally from the free speech tracker of the Hoot’s Free Speech Hub. Add this to the loss of jobs in media funded by ponzi schemes like the Saradha group (1,400) or in other newspaper groups struggling to stay afloat.

Barely four days before World Press Freedom Day on May 3, a Kannada newspaper Karavali Ale was the target of an attack by the BJP MLA from Surathkal in South Karnataka, Krishna Palemar. Copies of the newspapers were torched at the local bus station. Subsequently, the distribution of copies was disrupted.

According to a complaint filed before the Election Commission by Rohini S, Managing Director of Chitra Publications, which brings out Karavali Ale, the ‘criminal actions’ of Palemar sought to frighten the management and staff against publishing reports adverse to him. Earlier, the newspaper had carried a detailed report about the ‘hollow’ claims of the political leader about development in the area.

The complaint added that Palemar had committed a violation of the poll codes (Karnataka goes to the polls on May 5) and has demanded action for his criminal destruction of property. Despite requests to local police for protection , this was not forthcoming, the newspaper management said

While the current tussle between the newspaper and local politicians owing allegiance to the Hindu right is clearly poll-related, it is by no means the only one. On February 6, a staffer of the newspaper, Harish Puthran, was attacked by elements supported by Hindu Vedike leader Satyajit Surathkal for his news reports that investigated the links between the Hindu fundamentalist group and the local drug mafia.

Earlier, in 2010, Palemar succeeded in obtaining a High Court injunction against the newspaper from publishing adverse reports against him, after an earlier attempt to secure an injunction from the Bangalore City and Civil Sessions court failed.

Press Freedom in India: January-April 2013

A quick glance at the list of attacks and censorship of the media in just these four months reveals the range of issues journalists are routinely confronted with. The killings, the attacks, threats and the censorship can originate from any quarter – Maoists in Chhattisgarh, Hindu fundamentalist groups in Mangalore, police and security forces in Odisha and Kashmir or even the gutka don who organised an acid attack against a journalist in Parbhani.

The censorship can range from police clamping down on coverage of the case of the Delhi gang-rape victim, elected representatives of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly who beat up a police inspector in the house but issued contempt notices against television channels for reporting the attack, defamation blocks on online media coverage of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) or the gag on the media of an entire state following the hanging of Afzal Guru.

In February, Nemichand Jain, a Hindi journalist working in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, was killed and a local committee of the Maoists left a pamphlet at the site taking responsibility for the killing. The incident, which sent shock waves amongst journalists in the area, again underlined the precarious nature of media work in a zone of conflict.

Jain worked both as a journalist as well as a distributor for several newspapers and the Maoists claimed he was a police informer. Journalists decided to boycott all information about Maoists following the death. The boycott was lifted after Maoists reportedly apologised, in yet another pamphlet, for the killing.

Needless to say, amidst this exchange of pamphlets, police are still ‘investigating’ the case.

Police are still also investigating the acid attack on Dinesh Chaudhary, reporter for Solapur Tarun Bharat, and his wife and teenaged daughter in Parbhani, Maharashtra in March this year. Chaudhary wrote about gutka don Syed Ali, who allegedly got two accomplices to throw acid on him. The duo managed to escape. The state home minister promised to take serious note of the incident and directed police to do their job. Till date, says the editor of the newspaper, Narayan Karanjkar, Ali is still ‘absconding’, though he has been spotted in the area on several occasions!

Odisha manages to be in the news for attacks on the media. In 2012, the Free Speech Hub conducted a special report on this state but when impunity rules, the journalist has no protection at work. Subhakant Padhihary discovered this when he was beaten mercilessly while covering an agitation in Bhubaneshwar on April 1. “When I was being caned mercilessly by the cops, Bhubaneswar DCP Nitinjit Singh was present, but he walked away,” Padhihary said.

Only yesterday, another journalist Amitabha Patra, and an editor of the magazine Nissan Lenin Ray, were arrested while covering a protest by villagers against the Lower Suktel Dam in Dunguripali of Balangiri district, Odisha.

The ‘Hindu taliban’ is what local journalists call attackers of Harish Putran, reporter for Karavali Ale, a newspaper from Mangalore, who was beaten up for a series of articles he did claiming that the Hindu Jagran Vedike had close links with a drug mafia.

The organisation became infamous for the pub-attacks and the raid on a homestay, which had led to the arrest of Kasturi television reporter Naveen Soorinje last November. After spending around four months in jail, Soorinje was granted bail by the Karnataka High Court and released in March 2013.

Sure, the media in turn has a lot to answer for. As the Hoot’s reports show, the media routinely forgets the North-east, invades the privacy of partying students in Hyderabad or when journalists fail to ask the right questions of their media owners. And these are just a few examples.

But as Camus said: A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad.

 

Open letter to Chief Justice Bombay High Court on Fraud Nirmal Baba


Nirmal Baba

( PIC COURTSEY- desicomments.com )

To

The Hon’ble Chief Justice, Mohit S Shah

Subject- An Appeal under Art 51 A of the Indian Constitution

I write to you as a Citizen Of India under my fundamental duty ,  mentioned in  Article 51-A of the  Indian constitution  for  developing the scientific temper, and voicing against superstition, and blind beliefs .

Below is come excerpts of the Delhi High court judgment by Honble  Justice  Kailash Gambhir in  NIRMALJIT SINGH NARULA vs SH. YASHWANT SINGH & ORS  (I.A. No.10017/ 2012 in CS(OS) 1518/2012)

 

“Our country was perceived as the land of the sadhus and saints since time immemorial…Though we have come a long way…the mystical sadhus and the god-men have not left the picture, the difference may be that some of the sadhus travel by a private jet and have a turnover worth [tens of millions.]”

‘The question is, whether such spiritual babas in their lectures or discourses can suggest solutions which are absurd, irrational, illogical, unfathomable and unacceptable. advising his disciples in the Samagams and through media, millions of people watching television to open black purses at the time of showering of his blessings then the same will result in inflow of money to them and likewise to tell people to eat Rabri, Masala Dosa or Paani Poori to overcome their miseries, are the kind of solutions which are highly irrational, weird and unacceptable to commonsensical notions, bound to result in backlash by the media and other such agencies. ( Para 27 of the Judgment)

 The videos of Nirma Babas Samagam  also depict the various cures and remedies propagated by him. It would be pertinent here to quote at least one of them:

“Baba: puri chhole khaye kabhi?

Bakht: ji baba ji khaye hain

Baba: Aisa karo puri chhole baba ko yad kar do char garibo

ko khila do, prabhu ki zyada kripaa ayegi.” (para 28 )

 

The above instance is only one odd out of the basket and any prudent person with average intelligence would be in rapt disbelief if such a remedy would get him rid of the difficulties he is facing in his life. Primafacie, these do not appear as logical to a rational mind but the whole edifice of this God market and its nuances is based on the belief system of people. This court cannot help but sound a word of caution that this sudden resurgence of the babas who claims to have mystical powers and give all kind of illogical solutions to overcome the miseries of people has amplified and glorified superstition and has turned the clock back of development in our country. ( Para 29 )

Who is Nirmal Baba

Nirmal Baba, former name Nirmaljit Singh Nirula, was born in 1952 in Samana, India, near Patiala Punjab, to a Namdhari Sikh family and is the youngest of two brothers and three sisters. He grew up in Palamau, Jharkhand after his parents shifted there in the Fifties. He is married to Sushma Narula and has a daughter and a son. Nirmaljit Singh began his brick kiln business in 1981. However, he suffered losses and following this, he started a cloth shop but again failed in his venture. He was then involved in mining of Kyanite from Jyoti Hill, Jharkhand in 1998–1999.He claims to have attained nirvana in a Jharkhand jungle in the 1980s. He then cut his Sikh hair, shaved off his beard and adopted the name Nirmal Baba.[1]

 

Nirmal Darbar  is the name of the paid televised show corresponding to each public meeting of Baba. This show was broadcast by approximately 40 different channels including AXNTV AsiaStar NewsSAB TV and more.[2] During these Darbars, he makes public appearances and converses with aggrieved devotees who usually narrated their personal, social or financial worries to him. He asks questions to diagnose what has stopped “kirpa” (God’s kindness) from flowing in the devotees’ lives. He then, advises them on those issues publicly and suggested “solutions” to make “kirpa” (God’s kindness) flow in the devotees’ lives again thereby solving their problems. Nirmal Baba also claims to save his devotees from negative effects of black magic and evil spirits. All the Samagam meetings havetickets for  Rs 2,000.[3] The tagline of the show is “Yantra chale na tantra mantra, na rahe dukhon ka ghera. Bhagya uday ho jayega jab ho, Nirmal Baba aashirwad tera.” meaning “Even when objects representing aspects of divine and mystical hymns and sounds having special meanings fail, good luck can be awakened in a person’s life by blessings of Nirmal Baba . He  also asks his followers to deposit a part of income to someone which may give a sort of guarantee for continuing KRIPA. That part of income which has been offered is called Daswand.

Complaints and Cases against Nirmal Baba

In April 2012 various news papers published news about Nirmal Baba’s bank accounts. He advertised on 35 channels. On every congregation (darbar) around 5,000 are believed to be present. Each person has to pay Rs 2,000 to be a part of it. This amounts to a staggering figure of around Rs 1 crore from every darbar he organizes. It is believed that around 7 such darbars are conducted every month which takes the stats to Rs 84 crores per year. This not the end to it.He also gives group appointments, conducts pujas, takes donations etc. Every devotee of his, who is healed of his problems, has to pay 1/10th of his earnings. Plus thousands shell out a lot from their kitty to free themselves from the problems which Baba claims to solve.
A Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar, exposed the  details of two of these accounts. As per the newspaper, Rs 109 crore have been deposited in these two accounts this year (until first week of April 2012). Roughly, everyday Rs 1.11 crores are deposited into these accounts. Although a large part of the deposit comes from Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand, but transactions take place from all over the country. Prabhat Khabar states that Rs 16 crore were deposited into Nirmal Baba’s account on April 12, 2012.

Nirmal Baba told to media that he has  been paying my income tax regularly. His  annual turnover is Rupees 235 Crore. Nirmal Baba bought hotel worth Rs 30 crore in Delhi’s Greater Kailash Area using the money donated to him by his devotees, according to a Jharkhand daily.[4]

In an another controversy two youngsters, Tanaya Thakur and Aritya Thakur, filed a report against self-proclaimed godman Nirmal Baba at a police station on  April 11, 2012 . They wanted  the Baba  be punished for allegedly cheating ordinary people through his “impractical” solutions. The written report said Nirmal Baba cheats common people by claiming godly powers. The report said his activities fuel superstitious thoughts and are a “hindrance to modernistic thoughts”.[5]

Also, Nidhi, a junior-artist who has worked in many TV serials, claimed that Nirmal Baba shot many of his programmes in Film City, Noida, UP and surprisingly the people who asked questions were not the ‘genuine’ ones but ‘fake’ people hired by Nirmal Baba. According to Nidhi, she got Rs 10,000 from Nirmal Baba for asking questions. [6]

First FIR was registered against godman Nirmal Baba in Bihar, on April 22, 2012. The FIR was filed at a police station in Bihar’s Araria district, and accused Nirmal Baba of fraud and cheating. [7] The court of Araria Chief Judicial Magistrate Satyendra Razak then issued a warrant of arrest on the basis of an FIR filed  by complainant who alleged that the Baba forced him to pay Rs. 1,000 in three installments between January and March 2011 on promise of fame and fortune. In his complaint, Singh also sent by courier counterfoils of the deposits of Rs 300 twice and Rs 400 in the Baba’s account at the Punjab and National Bank to his Delhi address as sought .According to Araria Superintendent of Police Shivdeep Lande, the accusation was found prima facie true following which he directed the investigating officer to move the court and seek a warrant of arrest.[8]

In Uttar Pradesh , three cases have been filed against controversial  Godman, Nirmaljeet Singh for alleged fraud and cheating.A case was filed against Baba and his wife in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Meerut for alleged fraud. The complainant, Harish Veer Singh, claimed that on Baba’s advice he ate ‘kheer’, which led to a health problem. In another police case filed at Indira Puram here, one Jai Ram Singh alleged that Nirmal Baba cheated him of Rs 31,000 by promising cure to his ailment, but he found no relief. In third case, One Jitender Singh filed a police complaint against Baba for allegedly cheating him of Rs 11,000 for curing his health problem . He claimed that he developed regular pain in his body after he ate ‘Pani-Poori’ for months following Baba’s advice. He alleged he had deposited Rs 11,000 in Baba’s bank account, but when he demanded more money, he decided to lodge complaint against the controversial Godman.[9]

In Madhya Pradesh , on a  complaint filed by Bina resident Surendra Vishwakarma,  local court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant, and directed police to produce him on June 25., 2012 . However, the police could not find the controversial Godman on his Delhi address. The  Madhya Pradesh High Court granted him an anticipatory bail. Justice G S Solanki of High Court asked him to execute a personal bond of Rs 50,000. A magistrate’s court at Bina had rejected Baba’s application seeking exemption from personal appearance .Vishwakarma has accused Baba of “cheating and hurting personal sentiments”. As per the complaint, Vishwakarma kept Rs 2,000 in a black purse so that his finances may improve, on Baba’s instructions. However, he lost the purse with the money, he alleged.[10]

Please do see the news report, where the above complainants talk about their complaints

Here is  another  Aaj Tak  interview of  Nirmal Baba

In  June 2012, Following a strong stand taken by Indian Broadcasting Federation asking its member channels to stop telecast of Nirmal Baba’s show Nirmal Darbar, the number of TV channels showing the show  dwindled from 36 to 19. A court in Madhya Pradesh  also issued an order asking stay on telecast of Nirmal Darbar. All the Nirmal Darbar programmes are paid shows on the channels, which runs into crores of rupees.[11]

 

The  self proclaimed , fraud God man is exploiting people who are in search of easy solutions to their agonies be it relating to health, poverty, unemployment, disharmony in the family etc . Nirmal Baba  is  s preading blind faith in the society, with his preachings under title of  ‘Third Eye of Nirmal Baba’ in his samagams , where he asks people to follow his preachings and guidelines to become rich and get rid of all problems in life, while his only motive is to make money.  He has no degree in religious teachings, and spreads fear among people by claiming that he has supernatural powers and asking them “to deposit ten per cent of their income in his bank account to receive his blessings.

I am a votary of  Freedom of Expression and  Speech and  am not asking for any curtailment of speech, but  I  amd asking for an intervention from  the Honble  High Court, that a  caution  be displayed , at all his ‘ samagams’, and public meetings, darbars  venues ,  so that people know what they are listening to — in the nature of a  Statutory Warning.

His next  Samagam in Mumbai as per his website is on April 8, 9 and  2013[12].

Please consider this as a petition against fraud and blind belief.

Sincerely

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Feminist and Human Rights Activist

Mumbai

Dated- March 16, 2013


[1] www.nirmalbaba.com

[2] http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-plotting-nirmal-babas-rise-on-the-web-3108745.html?HF-2=

[3] www.nirmalbaba.com

[4] http://m.oneindia.in/news/2012/04/16/nirmal-baba-donations-buy-rs-1-8-cr-flat-30cr-hotel.html

[5] http://www.newsbullet.in/india/34-more/28574-star-news-exclusive-hard-facts-about-nirmal-baba

[6] http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-ask-fake-question-and-get-rs-10000-from-nirmal-baba-3102181.html

[7] http://zeenews.india.com/news/bihar/first-fir-registered-against-nirmal-baba_771060.html

[8] http://www.siasat.com/english/news/hc-stays-nirmal-baba%E2%80%99s-arrestnext-hearing-june-18

[9] http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cheating-fraud-cases-against-nirmal-baba-in-up/938268

[10] http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-26/indore/32424181_1_personal-bond-godman-arrest-warrant

[11] http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/nirmal-baba-show-discontinued-16432.html

[12] http://nirmalbaba.com/

Freedom of speech in India is for the rich and the powerful #censorship


FEBRUARY 14, 2013
by , kafila.org

While freedom of speech and expression in India is under attack from all sides, have you noticed how the rich and the powerful can say what they like without getting arrested, facing FIRs and courts, hiring lawyers and so on?

While an innocuous tweet or Facebook status update can land you in police lock-up on a Saturday night or Sunday morning 5 am, a Digvijaya Singh can say sexist crap against Rakhi Sawant and get away with it.

Here’s another example from Twitter recently. Lalit Modi of IPL infamy, who wants us to believe his coming to India and facing the law is a security threat to him, tweeted that the BJP’s  Arun Jaitley would lose his deposit if he contested the Lok Sabha seat from Jaipur. (Lalit Modi thinks he’s the Maharaja of Rajasthan.) In response to that, one Ankush Jain replied…

lalit-modi-arun-jaitley-barkha-dutt-radia-tapes

You can see there, Barkha Dutt’s threat to sue three people,one of whom said nothing, was merely tagged there. Ankush Jain was so terrified he deleted not just his Tweet but even his twitter account! I don’t blame him. He’s probably a student or a government employee or runs a shop somewhere… he wouldn’t want to face legal notices and police stations and court-rooms. Lalit K Modi on the other hand has no such problem. He counter-threatened Barkha Dutt with legal notices. Jain’s offending tweet still exists in the form of a manual RT by Lalit Modi, as you can see in the screenshot above.

You can see here a good summary of what happened on Twitter over this.

Some people then pointed out on Twitter that a similar allegation was made by Vinod Mehta in his book Lucknow Boy but Dutt never sued Mehta. Here is a screenshot from the Google Books version of Mehta’s book:

Lucknow Boy A Memoir - Vinod Mehta - Google Books - Mozilla Firefox_2013-02-13_23-40-57

So while an Ankush Jain is bullied into deleting his Twitter account, a Vinod Mehta can sit pretty.

The Indian Constitution promises freedom of speech and equality. Both promises are just that. The Internet’s democratisation of public discourse hurts the rich and the powerful and they are striking back. The rest of us feel helpless.

Lawrence Liang’s two posts from Kafila archives are worthy of recall:

This sentiment reminds me of Anatole France’s famous statement that the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. The quick equation of an individual blogger with the might of a newspaper or a magazine is a little troubling. Individuals do not have the same kind of power, money or reach to be able to defend themselves in the way that newspapers may be capable of. [Bloggers and Defamation]

And:

So why is the punishment redundant? Because it doesn’t really matter. The mere fact that the provision exists and the fact that it allows for the possibility for someone to file a police complaint or threaten police action serves the purpose of intimidating speakers, reader, organizers regardless of the fact that in most cases if it were to go to trial, it would be highly unlikely that the offending act would be found to be in violation of the provisions. The courts have laid down reasonably high standards for interpreting what would amount to a violation of these laws, and have even acknowledged their misuse. [The process is the bloody punishment]

Where the mind is without fear, where the head is held high…

 

#India – has Yo Yo Honey Singh already won ? #Rap #Vaw


Garga Chatterjee | Agency: DNA

A song that celebrates rape and sung allegedly by Honey Singh has been ‘discovered’. The tragedy in Delhi created the ground for this. If the discovery was supposed to raise awareness against the contents of the songs, that scheme has failed miserably. The number of online views of the said song has shot up steeply ever since the free publicity. Honey has denied singing the ‘Balatkari’ song.

Many people and groups, who, till yesterday had hardly heard of Honey Singh or this song, have assembled his paper and cloth idols to consign them to flames in public amidst much supportive sloganeering. This speedy move from relative ignorance to active denunciation, however heartfelt, is all too familiar. This has also given a good cover to misogynists to peddle high-decibel righteousness. If morality-fired censorship riding high on the back of a human tragedy is not immoral and cynical, I do not know what is. Even more cynical is how some such groups stand side-by-side folks who have devoted decades working at the grassroots – Honey has provided a strange equalizing opportunity, a short-cut.

Many patriotic songs are full of exhortation of death and killing of name-less ‘enemies’. ‘Religious songs’ have elements of killing demons (considered by many as euphemism for Dalits) and infidels. Most of the folks who want to stop watching Anurag Kashyap’s movies for his association with Honey, will not stop using products that are advertised using advertisements that ‘objectify’ women or boycott filmstars who publicly endorse such products. Walking the talk requires a different culture than consumer culture. We are like this only.

Honey Singh has put to tune fantasies that are known and liked widely — what many draw on bathroom walls. Some argue that the free distribution of such material creates an ambience that facilitates viewing women in a certain way – rape is a part of that way of viewing. The individual, in such a milieu, has a greater propensity to rape. The problem with such conjectures is that they do not have a clear causal relationship with criminal action. In the absence of that crucial strict causal link between action and crime, to criminalise human behaviour, however reprehensible it may be to some, leads all of us down an extremely slippery path. Theories of broad propensity are good enough. Consider the implications of this for the ‘single, migrant, underclass, male’ theory.

We should strive towards a fuller understanding of the popularity of songs such as these. The sad use of ‘impressionable children’ to grind their own axe has to stop. There is no evidence that grandfathers from ‘purer’ times are any less likely to grope. And why should everything be ‘family friendly’ anyways? Media ‘explicitness’ as a cause for sexual violence also tacitly legitimizes the ‘titilation’ theory. The less said about that, the better. We have more to lose by sacrificing free expression than the supposed gains of censoring Honey Singh.

There is an anxiety that unless there are curbs, Honeys will take all. There is a tacit acknowledgement that there is no robust alternative on offer. And there is the rub. There is a secret fear that there is no cultural repertoire that is up-to-date and ‘presentable’ as alternative to ‘the youth’. Beyond religion and sex, the relationship of the market with non-sexual elements of ‘Lok-sanskriti’ is faint. Real ‘Lok’ is important in production, consumption and propagation. When profiteers limit ‘Lok’ only to consumption, we have a problem. Organised industry has a certain idiom it is comfortable with. Socially rooted cultural produce without corporate intermediaries, say, the Baul-shahajiya minstrels, thrive in a supportive ecology. One cannot take away the ecology and then expect that it will continue its own evolution, as if nothing changed.

No number of ‘folk-music’ festivals in Delhi can provide alternatives in the backdropwhere ‘folk’ are systematically displaced and brutalized on a daily basis. Music and art, in their many shades, spring forth from life. Without it, it is simply a plant without roots — destined to die sooner or later. The new world selectively cuts roots. Hence Honey lives. After the destruction of rooted cultural idioms and ways of life, from where does one expect songs of life to spring? What will the songs be about – since sadness and pain are ‘unfit’ for modern consumption? Even the idea of songs from struggles of the displaced is met with the some kind of mental cringe, if not a mental block. Consumption is the basic framework in the new world. And there are no holy hills, groves, cultures, homelands, people. Honey Singh has sung the allegorical anthem of the new world. He may have sung it a bit too loudly, at an inopportune time.

Garga Chatterjee is a postdoctoral scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

MC Manmeet lambasts YO YO Honey Singh and his #Rap #Vaw #1billionrising #protest #Foe


Manmeet Kaur the bubbly , lively ,  woman rapper , a  Japaite ,   set the stage on fire  at the program  ON 26TH jAN 2013, at Ambedkar bhavan  bhavan in Mumbai. The program on freedom of expression ‘ bOl ke lab azaad hain tere”.  T he program in support of freedom of speech and expression in Indian Constitution, A crusade for creativity – speak, your lips are free, had a plethora creative and artistic presentations in form of skits, songs, and dance .

No Indian can keep quiet, when the freedom of his country is for sale.

While the most lethal epidemic is spreading in the world, only a few humans stand resolute against the enemy of humanity and are determined to remain altruistic. At any given point of time, such people are only a small handful. Dictators consider them as a major threat, hence they first try to woo them to join the thieves’ guild and be one of them. If all fails, they are offered a high post in the governmental machinery, a position of power or even monetary funds, in order to silence their noble quest for ever. If these measures fail, they construct new prisons for these humane persons and try to crucify them.

What is going on today? There is a constitution in this country, albeit without a soul. All pillars of democracy are dilapidated. Only those who have financial capital, rule the media and can brag and pontificate on anything. The supporters of Brahmanism and under-belly of capitalism keep blabbering nonsense incessantly. Those who are misleading the society by screaming utter lies have been given freedom of expression; and those, who write and speak the truth are forcefully silenced either by means of the police power or by the side-kick fascist organisations. But these moves are no more a secret.

In video below Manmeet gives a very apt reply to Yo Yo Honey Singh and his rap music .

JOIN US FOR MUSICAL ACTIVISM HERE  JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR ALL

BLOCK FEB 14TH, FOR  ONE BILLION RISING MUMBAI, Manmeet and more  performnces hip hop, rap, belly dancing, flash dance

Here  is manmeeet singh, rapping on Yo Yo Honey Singh

 

#India- don’t focus too much on individuals in the battle against sexual violence, #Censorship #Vaw


PRERNA BAKSHI, The Hindu  #India-Towards a Decisive Victory in the Historic Battle for Women’s Rights

Against the recent backdrop of the gang rape incident in Delhi, rapper Honey Singh found himself surrounded by a number of protesting activists and NGOs. Some of his songs have come under the scanner and have been termed by these activists as offensive towards women.

However, the rapper himself has denied being associated with one such song which has in particular grabbed attention for demeaning women. The song has been doing the rounds on internet for quite some time even though neither the management nor the singer has claimed responsibility towards the ownership of the song.

While the trueownership of this song could be debatable, the question that needs to be asked is should this matter be given the amount of attention it has and more specifically, are songs such as those made by Honey Singh responsible for the growing rape and sexual violence towards women.

While it would be true to say that many of the contemporary songs do objectify women (of which Bollywood has a lot to answer for) which further affects the position of women in society, it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture while making such claims.

On New Year’s Eve, Honey Singh was forced to withdraw from the show at Bristol Hotel where he was scheduled to perform. Many people on social media celebrated the occasion by terming it the ‘first battle won’ on the first day of the New Year. It is here where the masses, activists and progressives need to take a step back and reassess their goals and strategies in a manner which does not over generalize and trivialize the issue at stake.

While there is not enough space in this article to look deeply at these issues, I have highlighted them in order to contribute to the debate about both the causes of gender violence, and the debate about what can and should be done about it.

A few points must be taken into account. Firstly, by focusing primarily on a single agenda and on a single individual, notwithstanding how achievable or worthwhile it is, we lose sight of more significant issues, thereby weakening the argument and the cause itself. By no means should any form of derogatory remarks towards women be tolerated in songs or public speeches but it should be recognized that removing sexism in songs and speeches, though helpful, cannot in itself fix the problem.

Secondly, by focusing on silencing the sexist elements within one’s speech without taking into account the existing power structures prevalent within the society, any efforts made in this direction would prove to be futile in the long run. It is for this reason the ultimate goal should be to alter the existing gender power differentials by aiming for a radical social transformation in order to truly achieve its ultimate aim of women emancipation. This cannot take place without altering the very power structures that have given rise to the ideology that gets manifested in speech towards women. Thirdly, devoting too much time and resources in shutting down the activities of people like Honey Singh would unnecessarily shift the focus of the debate from the praxis of gender relations to a debate about freedom of speech and would end up dividing public opinion and complicating matters further.

This is not a suggestion that time and effort should not be spent in protesting against such people but rather that it is imperative to address and correct their sexist and misogynistic attitudes. It is also not suggested that people should have the right to free speech no matter how violent and discriminating it may be towards women but that it has to be met with responsibility and accountability. The only necessary point is to refrain from over generalizing the effects of certain songs on the whole praxis of gender relations and not to attribute certain songs wholly as the cause of sexual violence and rape crises prevalent in the society.

Fourthly, caution is to be exercised whilst advocating for a ban or censorship of certain songs as doing this could further provide an impetus to the reactionary conservative forces that could later use this move to further their own agenda of maintaining the status quo and perpetuating existing power structures and thus consequently could prove to be detrimental to a revolutionary change in the society.

Censorship may sound appealing when the censors are targeting people we dislike, but for anyone interested in social transformation, censorship is negative in the long run.It is for these reasons that attitudinal and discourse level changes cannot be brought about independently and remain strongly influenced by the material and structural conditions. Without a change on the structural level, any meaningful change would seem unattainable.

 

PRESS RELEASE- A Crusade for Creativity- BOL KE LAB AAZAD HAI TERE @26Jan #Mumbai #Foe #Republicday


freedom_of_speech
PRESS RELEASE

Bol ke lab azaad hain tere…….

History has been witness to the systematic deprivation of the oppressed. Right from their attempts to acquire knowledge and make it a vehicle of their liberation, to the production and expression of critical thought and action, the atrocities against the edict of equality enshrined in the constitution have been manifold. Even though the titles and identities of oppressors seem to have changed, the nature of oppression remains identifiably similar; the practice of slavery keeps resurfacing in one form or the other.

Yet, the history of the struggles of the subalterns against such tyranny is just as rich and rousing. We seek to stand up to the tall legacy of these struggles and continue the fight against the dilution of our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. We denounce the Corporate Media that is all money and no soul, no courage, no character. The media not only manufactures consent but systematically marginalizes subaltern movements by consistently turning a blind eye towards them and privileging middle and upper class rage and issues above all else.

We condemn the State agencies and fascist forces that seek to gag the crusaders of truth and justice. The clamp down on people’s movements against nuclear plants in Koodankulam and Jaitapur, frequent Zillabandi, police firing and lathicharge incidents in response to people’s protests, the landgrab of mining and industrial capitalists in adivasi areas, the moral policing and vandalism of despotical forces, as well as the arrests of cultural revolutionaries like Sudhir Dhawale and members of Kabir Kala Manch who sought to write and sing about the gaffes, among others, must stop.  These are blatant violations of our fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression orchestrated by the State and powerful non-State actors.

To register our protest, we have organised a Cultural Protest Programme in opposition to the atrocities against the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression in our country.

Event:  Srujanacha Algaar- A Crusade for Creativity

Time & Date: 5:00 – 9:00 pm, Saturday, 26 January 2013
Venue: Dr. Ambedkar Bhavan, Gokulpasta lane, behind Chitra Cinema, Dadar (W), Mumbai.
Programme: Revolutionary Cultural Gala to be presented by a new vibrant team of performers

Music (Hindustani Classical, Ghazals, Vidrohi Shahiri, Parivartanachya Ovya, Global Gondhal, Laavani, Rap, Rock) Poetry recitation, Dance performances,  Song of Kabir by Niraj Arya,  Rap Performances – MC Manmeet Kaur and Ashwini Mishra of Alistrap

Short Plays to be presented entirely by new and young performers and cultural activists.

An invitation extended by Sambhaji Bhagat, Ramu Ramanathan, Anand Patwardhan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal and other supporters of the Freedom of Speech and Expression

 

THE FACEBOOK EVENT HERE-https://www.facebook.com/events/401313879956734/

Media Contact:

Anisha George                                           Sambhaji Bhagat

Tel: 9820171019                                       Tel: 9323801194

Email: anishage@gmail.com

 

An Open Letter to Yo Yo Honey Singh #Hiphop #Vaw #Misogyny


A number of voices — some cogent, some misguided — have come out in protest against Honey Singh’s ‘obscene’ & ‘inflammatory’ lyrics, but Annie Zaidi writes that the matter of vital important is the rapper’s casual depiction of wanton violence against women

ANNIE ZAIDI  5th Jan 2013, Sunday Guardian

 

 

 

Members of Progressive Student’s Association protesting against Honey Singh’s ‘anti-women, vulgar and disturbing’ music in Jammu on 4 August, 2012

Dear Yo Yo Honey,

Listen. What was your first word? ‘Ma’?

Words are one of the first things we ache for. A baby learns to say ‘Ma’ or ‘Pa’ or ‘Daadi’ because those are the words of first love. Then comes ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Biscuit’. They point to eyes, say ‘eyes’. They are happy when they go to a park. They ask: Why do cats eat rats? Why can’t I follow you into the bathroom?

Yo Yo, a baby learns words as a way of understanding his world. Papa says he must go out to work so he can feed you. You learn that a man must make money. If Ma beats you, you learn that beating is alright. You listen to a song about heartbreak and learn that pain can be expressed through art. You hear of other boys stalking girls; you start doing the same. You want to know how sex works; you look for photos, books, videos.

Words are the tools through which we assimilate, and learn to negotiate society. This process never ends. Every year I change a little bit because of what I absorb, mostly through words. What I read, watch, experience, dream, overhear.

Society is a mish-mash of image, word and experience. This is what culture is. Artists are not loved for nothing. They grasp our shared truth. They help us derive meaning from the chaos of life.

But many male artists have confused ideas about sex, masculinity and femininity. Their lyrics and videos create fake meanings. For example, a man and woman are dancing. They are smiling. But the lyrics suggest violent sex, or hint at a disrespectful relationship. The viewer is left to connect the dots.

The women acting in most videos are not dressed in working clothes. But the men often are. Women are never shown doing any work, although most women put in twice the number of work hours.

What do the songs say? They tell a lie, right? A dangerous untruth about what women are like and what they deserve. Lyrics in your newer songs – High Heels, for instance – are entirely focused on the outer shell of a woman. It makes me wonder if you can see us as anything other than female-shaped thingies. Video after video after video.

Perhaps you’re feeling petulant. Perhaps you’ve moved on from that sort of video or lyrics, and you want everyone to forget your past.

Sadly, Yo Yo, it doesn’t work that way. Fame comes slowly. It took 6 years for your infamous song to reach my ears. Art is not witnessed or dismissed overnight. Just like violent ideas are not assimilated and put into practice overnight.

About your Gurgaon show, there were two petitions going around. I did not sign one because it used words like ‘pornographic’ and ‘offensive’. I know you have a right to give offense. Besides, I am not opposed to nudity or sexual imagery in any art form.

So, this is not about pornography. It is not about obscenity. It is definitely not about sex. I did sign the other petition because it objected to the violence embedded in your songs.

 
Lyrics in your newer songs – High Heels, for instance – are entirely focused on the outer shell of a woman. It makes me wonder if you can see us as anything other than female-shaped thingies. Video after video after video.

The free speech bogey was raised, although there’s a big difference. In other cases, it was the government imposing a ban, or a bunch of hooligans threatening physical violence, or damaging spaces where artists exhibit.

I did not threaten to attack the hotel. I just let them know that I would cease to respect the management. These are the tools of democracy, Yo Yo. If the hotel did not care for my opinion, they could have gone on with your show. But perhaps, they want to be thought of as responsive. Or maybe they’re just avoiding bad press. Maybe you’ll do a show in Gurgaon a week later.

If the government bans you, Yo Yo, I’ll protest on your side. But you have exercised your right to free speech. Now I am exercising my right. And I’m saying – Stop!

I have no desire to destroy your career, Yo Yo. This is actually about your fans. And hotels, sponsors, record labels, film producers – everyone who banks on misogyny to make money. I cannot help it if fans of songs like Choot exist. I cannot stop people from acting on their hatred and fear of women‘s sexuality. But I will not let it flow on, unchallenged.

I’m not unreasonable, Yo Yo. I read petitions before signing my name. And I accept that people can change. You could spend time thinking about what kind of music you make, and whether it is honest, whether it hurts women. You could just put out a note in the papers – or even on Facebook – taking a stand. You could do it even now.

But our ideas about democracy are funny. We forget that with fundamental rights come fundamental responsibilities. That’s what it means to be free – taking ownership of your work, your environment, your ideas.

Slowly, slowly, our society learnt to associate sex with shame and violence and self-hatred and woman-hatred. Yo Yo, we must unlearn it very quickly.

But I have said enough. You say something now. And make it mean something.

Annie Zaidi is the author of Known Turf and the co-author of The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Indian Girl

 

Fettering the fourth estate: Free Speech in 2012 #Censorship #FOE #media


Icon for censorship

Icon for censorship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JANUARY 2, 2013, hoot.org

 

 

Fettering the Fourth Estate: Free Speech in 2012

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.

The year began with the brutal killing of journalist Chandrika Rai (42), his wife Durga (40) and their two teenage children — son Jalaj (19) and daughter Nisha (17) — at their residence in Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria distict in February. Other journalists to die this year were Rajesh Mishra in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, Chaitali Santra in Kolkata and Raihan Naiyum, in Assam.

We list and detail below all the incidents which occurred in the course of the year.

 

1. Journalists killed

05

2. Journalists assaulted, harassed or threatened

38

3. Censorship of content in print medium

08

4. Censorship in the electronic medium

04

5. Censorship of literature, art, education, theatre

08

6. Censorship in film and music industry

14

7. Curbs on internet medium

41

8. Limits on mobile medium

05

9. Arson at media establishments

06

10. Hate speech

02

11. Information or access denied

10

12. Surveillance issues

05

13. Privacy and defamation

02

14. Legislative issues

03

That the death toll of journalists would have been higher, is clear by the brutality of the assaults and threats to journalists: Thongam Rina, associate editor of Arunachal Times, was shot at and critically injured in July; Kamal Shukla in Chhattisgarh was assaulted by a local politician because he wrote a story on illegal tree-felling in Koelibeda, the constituency of the state’s forest minister Vikram Usendi; in Gujarat’s Palampur district, television journalist Devendra Khandelwal was attacked with iron pipes by relatives of MLA Mafatlal Purohit for reporting their involvement in illegal construction.

Sec 66 (a) and internet freedom

The 41 instances of free speech violations related to internet use in the Free Speech Hub’s ‘Free Speech Tracker’ testify to the growing use and abuse of this medium. Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan, two young Facebook users, in Palghar, Maharashtra, in October, were arrested under the draconian Sec 66 (a) of the Information Technology Act, one for posting a critical status comment on the shutdown of the city in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and the other for ‘liking’ the post! The nation-wide protest that followed forced a review of the charges against them and a closure report by police. However, they will still have to wait till January 2013 for the formal dropping of charges against them.

Already, the fears over the misuse of the controversial Section (66 A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, were confirmed by other instances: the arrest of two Jadavpur University professors in April 2012 for their e-mails on the cartoons poking fun at that projected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee;  the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for sedition, for insulting national honour and for sending offensive messages under Sec 66 (a) of the IT Act in August 2012: two employees of Air-India, Mayank Sharma and KVJ Rao, who were sacked (and reinstated after the protests) after their arrest over a Facebook post, three youth arrested in Kashmir for allegedly anti-Islamic posts and the arrest of industrialist AS Ravi for tweeting about Karti Chidamnaram, son of Union minister for P Chidambaram.

Earlier, in June 2012, the union government ordered the blocking of  more than 250 sites and web pages following the widespread panic and exodus of people from the North East out of Pune, Delhi and Bangalore. Some accounts that disproved the morphed pictures and the propaganda were also blocked.

The Google Transparency Report put India top on the list of countries making demands to take down content.

Censorship in other media

Censorship continued in all arenas, from the literary and cinematic worlds, to art and theatre. Protests of vigilante groups against all manner of expression continued with political parties and social groups taking offence against film songs, dialogues and titles of movies, art exhibitions and theatre performances and even the use of mobile phones by women!

In May, the Human Resources Development Ministry’s attempt to expunge cartoons from NCERT and CBSE textbooks for their alleged anti-Dalit connotations sparked an inconclusive debate on casteism in educational content while the cancellation of Salman Rushdie’s proposed visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival in January only showed the pusillanimity of the state administration.

Covert state surveillance was on the rise, with an increase in government interception and monitoring of emails and telephone conversations, privacy violations and hate speech cases are also under the scanner.

(For further details of the cases and categories please click here)

 

 

 

#India – KEEP CALM and #66A ON #censorship #FOE #FOS


Graphic novelist Vishwajyoti Ghosh casts a mirthful eye on what we might confront on our ultimate day on this planet exclusively for TOI-Crest

Previous Older Entries

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,246 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,675,933 hits

Archives

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
%d bloggers like this: