After much brouhaha on the Supreme Court ruling last month regarding rights of expression online, it was summarized that this ruling merely implied that the defendant was not excused from prosecution. We can argue ad nauseaum about the merits of such a ruling but the fact remains that the defendant neither has not yet been found guilty nor has a precedent been set for blogger rights. Some bloggers had sounded the death knell for opinion blogging in India but I remain skeptical although I do believe that the current law elaborating on freedom of speech is anti-democratic and subject to rampant abuse. Any law that has exceptions for exceptions is. But you would expect the mainstream media with its high journalistic standards and professionalism to be much better than bloggers in PJs, right? Well, check out this article on IBN Live by Pallavi Paul [hat tip: Vimoh].
Do you open up most when you’re online? Well, don’t.
I love the way she opens her article by reprimanding you immature bloggers who shoot your mouth off at the slightest hint of injustice (or coffee stains). So if you want to be honest with yourself and share your feelings even if they aren’t libelous, Pallavi says no. Karan Johar would concur and says, parents know best. But then parents can’t blog either just because they finally figured out how to go online.
Thanks to a recent observation by the Supreme Court, which could become a template for all future cases.
I knew it! The Supreme Court saves all judgments and rulings as a .dot file and simply replaces the blogger’s name and their URL for future cases. Ok! that may be a bit unfair. We all know that typewriters are still the rage.
“There are so many charges against Ajith, such as x, y, z. Our constitution does not allow such activity so it is not acceptable,” says Cyber lawyer Karnika Seth.
Pallavi then quotes a cyber lawyer (sounds like a task for Chris Hansen), Karnika who I think may have told her what those “x, y, z” charges were. But you see, space is such a premium even online that you wouldn’t want to waste precious
megabytes kilobytes bytes bits that would go into mentioning those charges that are so pertinent to this case. Unless the Constitution explicitly charges you with crimes against humanity if you blog using the characters x, y, and z. We’re a vowel-friendly nation.
There are punishments for posting obscenity, inciting public disharmony, intimidation, even defamation. The problem is that how will these laws be interpreted.
Err…that actually makes sense and sounds insightful in recognizing the core problem. Wait a minute, am I reading a blog?
In the heat of the Mumbai attacks, Cheytanya Kunte blogged against journalists revealing vital info on TV. He was forced to apologise by the channel.
Let me get this straight, after all the megabytes (yup, we bloggers buy memory by the megabytes) spent in discussing the Cheytanya Kunte case, you think he was punished for revealing vital info? What do you think he is, Abdul Qadeer Khan? He was charged with libel, threatened with a lawsuit, and asked to remove his post which he did. It wasn’t like a teacher saying “now go say sorry to your friend for punching him”. Even if we differ on whether his words were libelous or not, at least mention the correct charge that NDTV had lobbed on him. I don’t expect Watergate-ish journalistic research but use the damn Google. And what’s with “info”, seven more characters and your editor would have fired you? Or just too Twitter-ized? But given your “x, y, z” lines, this is Pulitzer-worthy.
Gaurav Sabnis complained about the standards of teaching at a Management institute. His write-up was forced off the net. Rashmi Bansal, who wrote about the same topic faced the music too.
Now we are entering territory that may makes Pallavi look absolutely inept as a journalist. As Gaurav explains, his “write-up” was NOT forced off the net and it still exists. The entire IIPM brouhaha was about forcing his “write-up” off his blog which he refused to do and resulted in IIPM getting bitch-slapped by the blogosphere. I again remind Pallavi of her research classes in journalism school or do as we bloggers do, use Google. But at least you got it partly right when you write Rashmi “facing the music” (we love our metaphors, don’t we?) Can you care to elaborate on the music that certain anti-social elements associated with IIPM were threatening her with?
The article then cites loopholes in the existing law by quoting Amit Varma and Rashmi Bansal. But concludes with a gem:
So, next time you upload a video to youtube or a photo to Flickr, message your friends on Facebook or update your blog make sure you aren’t breaking the law.
Bloggers, remember the “x, y, z” ways in which you can break the law? Pallavi asks you to remember those when you go about your Web2.0 ways.