Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Freedom from hate

Democracy empowers the citizens with freedom of expression to chart their own destiny. It is imperative that for democracy and 'of the people, by the people and for the people' to genuinely work, people have to express their thoughts, views and criticism in an open manner.
India is a classic case of democracy at work. Media is relatively free to inform, comment and criticize. Citizens go about discussing issues of public importance without any fear. In fact, the problem is not freedom but lack of restraints that has come to haunt us. Take the many examples of politicians who during election time stop at nothing to make a point in order to cater to select vote banks. The election commission, by being soft (do they have the powers?) has added to the cacophony of hate speeches.
We have our list of hate speech experts in the form of Ananth Kumar Hegde. Unless there is a law to protect people from this kind of hate speech, our politician will go on with impunity (even as I pen this there is another politician from Karnataka who has been booked for his outbursts). Even the internet is being used to propagate and spread hate speech. Any speech that has a distructive effect on society should be regulated. What is the point of freedom if that freedom is aimed at dividing society and intimidating people? There is a point in the principle behind the granting of freedom in our Constitution- freedom comes with responsibility and if one cannot be responsible, freedom is the casuality.

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