Sounds of silence- Sec 66A-IT Act #FOE #FOS


Jug Suraiya
06 December 2012, 11:12 PM IST, TNN

Following several cases of people in various parts of the country being sent to jail because of comments they had either made, or even just approved of, on social networking sites, JV sought an interview with the newly-appointed minister of misinformation and non-communication. The interview turned out to be unique, in that the interviewer didn`t say a single word right through the entire proceedings leaving all the talking to the interviewee.

Why didn`t the interviewer utter a word during the course of the interview? Was it because of a sudden attack of laryngitis which made it impossible for him to speak? Not quite. Here is a transcript of the one-sided interview.

JV: (Silent greeting of `Good morning`)

Minister: The same to you. Isn`t silence soothing? No wonder they call it golden. And with the price of gold being what it is today — and going up by the hour — golden silence has never been so prized as it is now. And it is the job of my new ministry of misinformation and non-communication to preserve and protect that precious silence and keep it safe from those anti-social elements who are advocates of freedom of screech.

JV: (Silent question mark)

Minister: Yes, yes. I know that the obsolete term borrowed from that out-of-date publication called the Constitution is freedom of speech. But under the special powers derived from rule 37, sub-clause 29ZX of section 66A of the Misinformation and Non-communication Act of 2012, free speech has been deemed to be free screech.

JV: (Silent exclamation)

Minister: Yes, i agree with you. Such an imaginative reinterpretation of language is indeed quite ingenious. And it had become necessary in order to keep the general public — which means the likes of you — safe from the harmful effects of free screech.

JV: (Silent screech)

Minister: See what i mean? You wanted to exercise your right to screech. That was the trouble with our democracy. Everybody believed they had the right to screech, at anyone they liked, at any time they wanted to. No wonder our democracy was fast turning into a dinocracy, what with all that free screeching creating the most godawful din. No, it had to be stopped. In order to restore democracy to those to whom it rightfully belongs: the silent majority. And the more silent it is, the better. That`s what the ministry of misinformation and non-communication and section 66A are all about.

JV: (Silent surprise)

Minister: Why should that surprise you? Haven`t you heard of communicable ailments which are bad for the health of the individual? Well, communication is a communicable ailment which is bad for the health of the body politic.

JV: (Silent understanding)

Minister: See, you`re beginning to get the point now. With people no longer communicating with each other, those dangerous germs called ideas and opinions won`t spread the socially transmitted disease called dissent. Dreadful thing it is, contagious as hell. And there`s no cure for it, only prevention. Prevention in the form of section 66A. And the gag that was put over your mouth when you stepped into this office. No, no. Don`t try and take it off. If i have my way, you`d better get used to it being a permanent fixture.

JV: (Silent vow of enforced silence)

 

Documentary filmmaking threatened by court ruling


English: Official Reporters Without Borders lo...

Image via Wikipedia

7 February 2012

SOURCE: Reporters Without Borders

(RSF/IFEX) – 7 February 2012 – Reporters Without Borders is deeply disturbed by the precedent that a court in the northern city of Lille set on 26 January when it ordered documentary filmmaker Sophie Robert to remove interviews with three psychoanalysts from her film about the treatment of autism and to pay them a large sum in damages for “misrepresenting” their views.

“By basing his ruling on how Robert chose to edit her film, the judge assumed the mantle of journalism critic,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The ruling’s consequences increase its gravity. Even if she appeals, Robert is now at the mercy of bailiffs who are demanding immediate payment of more than 25,000 euros. After the seizure of the original interview footage in October, we are shocked yet again by the disproportionate nature of the judge’s decision.

“His arguments are extremely dangerous for the future of documentary filmmaking. Taking a position, defending a point of view – which is only natural with such a controversial subject – has been treated as misrepresentation. Will any person interviewed for a documentary now be able to request seizure of the footage and its withdrawal from the documentary? Will only toned-down, anodyne documentaries now be tolerated?”

The court ordered Robert to pay between 5,000 and 7,000 euros in damages to each of the three psychoanalysts – Eric Laurent, Esthela Solano-Suarez and Alexandre Stevens – she interviewed for her film, “The Wall – Psychoanalysis put to the Autism Test.” The court also ordered her to withdraw the interviews from the film and publish an apology, and ruled that its orders should take immediate effect, even if she decided to appeal.

The film is a scathing criticism of the way French psychoanalysts treat autistic children. It portrays their methods as backward and accuses them of blaming the parents. Although the three psychoanalysts she interviewed signed releases allowing her to edit their comments, they nonetheless brought a suit accusing her of distorting their views.

“The Wall is a contribution to the debate on a issue of public interest – using psychoanalysis to treat autism – and is therefore protected by article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which concerns free expression, and by the jurisprudence stemming from this article,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“At no time did the judge refer to the right to inform the public or the principles recognized by the European Court in Strasbourg, namely accepting a degree of exaggeration, taking account of good faith and tolerating ideas that shock or offend. He also ignored the principle that a penalty should be proportionate to the harm inflicted and the defendant’s ability to pay. Applying article 1382 of the French Civil Code, concerning civil liability, was also regrettable as it prevented Robert from benefitting from the guarantees granted by more specific legal provisions.”

Reporters Without Borders supports Robert’s appeal and hopes that the appeal court will take account of the principle of free expression, as enshrined in the constitution.

http://www.ifex.org/2012/02/07/france_affaire_le_mur/

For more information:

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
France
rsf (@) rsf.org
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51
http://www.rsf.org

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