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Udupi: Article 19 curtails freedom of expression, says Anand Ranganathan

Pics: Umesh Marpalli

Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (HB/MS)

Udupi, Feb 8: The three days of communication core event ‘Article 19’ kicked-off with the session of Anand Ranganathan, 'Swarajya' consulting editor and columnist , who inaugurated the programme, at SOC auditorium here on Thursday, January 7.

This event is organized by the School of Communication (SOC), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE).

Bobby Wahengbam, author and director of Manipuri, was present as the guest of honour.

In his presidential speech, Dr Narayan Sabhahit, Registrar, MAHE said, "Media plays an important role in catering the truth. Journalists must try to find the truth and be authentic as possible on the issue. Language is not innocent, but it depends on how we use it. If the news publicized is false, people may lose faith."

SOC director Dr Padma Rani welcomed the gathering.

In the first session, Anand Ranganathan delivered a talk on 'Science:Selectivity and Public Discourse' Ranganathan said, "There is no freedom of expression under Article 19. In fact, it curtails the freedom. You may have the freedom of expression, but cannot offend someone. According to me, that is not freedom. The biggest propagator of intolerance is religion and religious books." He was quoting a local thought 'Do not tell the truth if it will offend someone’.

"According to me, freedom is the right to offend someone. People believe in what they see. But unfortunately, what they see as written by those, who have written what they believe. Objectivity currently becomes some sort of metallic object that must be left behind," Ranganathan added.

Ranganathan further said, "Subjectivity and selectivity brings walls. Objectivity and impartiality brings calm and rational thinking. As per my observation, Indians do not want calm and rational thinking. There ought to be more journalism in science and science in journalism. A journalist should be independent. There is no such thing to objectivity. Most of them are happily dependent and joyously subjected. Independent strong media means it is a strong mouth piece of any party or running corporate hands. Independent means being independent of any ideology."

"Right now, there is no single TV, print or digital media house that is independent. Most of the channels are affiliated with some or the other corporate company," Ranganathan added.

Answering the question posed by a student regarding ideology of media, Ranganathan said, "No media is truly independent today. Media should work for the good of society. Media should not be for making business alone. Some of the TV channels are owned by politicians. Most of the journalists say that they are dishing out what people want, but in fact it is not like that. They should present the truth."

To the question against freedom of expression Ranganathan said, "This law that is used blatantly, by all government including BJP-NDA government. Article 19 makes a fool out of you. Laws are protected by Article 19 and clauses (2) and other sub clauses. If the government wanted to amend any act in the constitution, it will do so faster than anything. For example, 10% reservation quota for upper classes. There should be limitation in preventing expression. Instead of removing the subjective, it is better to remove limitations."

"If the laws does not exist on certain religious community, there will not be any violence. Some laws are preventing to come to the main screen and now the people are getting aware of it. To be an independent journalist, one must read both right and left wing before forming an opinion," added Ranganathan.

With regards to employment, Ranganathan said, "We will face a huge crisis of jobs in the next 50 years. About 65% of the population would be under 30 years of age. No matter how many jobs are created, it would still be a serious issue in front of us. Agriculture contributes over 12% of our GDP. 91% of labourers are working in informal sectors and 9% in formal sector. 35 % of the parliamentarians have criminal charges. Politicians are corrupt. Let us not trust in them."

"Over 83% of students do not want youth wing of any political party to be in the university. Yet we have many politicallyassociated students’ wing in educational institutions. Some states banned political youth wings in Colleges. I condemnacts of Kanhaiya, and his ideologies. He was charged," added Ranganathan.

Concluding his talk, Ranganathan said, "Science is not about doing practical things in laboratory, but about philosophy. Isee science is a philosophy. Journalists must be like scientists in terms of finding fact. Objectivity can come through science and through training. I am looking forward to this view with philosophical view behind it."

The second talk of the day was given by eminent Manipuri director Bobby Wahengbam, who screened a short-film 'Joseph Ki Mache (Joseph's Son)'. Following this was a short discussion with the students about his journey as a filmmaker and the inspirations. Primarily the life experiences that found its way into his films. "Even though the cinematic landscape inManipur is marred by financial constraints, the gap between films and audience is decreasing," he said.

The first day also had a variety of contests and games including mono-acting, rap battles etc. and Daijiworld24*7 are the web and tv media partners of this event.

Comment on this article

  • Melroy C.F.Fernandes, Mangalore

    Fri, Feb 8 2019

    I fully agree with Anand :
    "There is no freedom of expression under Article 19. In fact, it curtails the freedom. You may have the freedom of expression, but cannot offend someone. According to me, that is not freedom. The biggest propagator of intolerance is religion and religious books."

    India desperately needs a law like the 1st amendment of the US of A.

    Mangaloreans hold thousands of photo-session programmes beginning with the compulsory “lamp lighting” but sadly the lamp-lighters continue to remain dim-wits.

    Arrest and arraign the ones who commit acts of violence using excuses that they have been “offended”. One must answer speech with speech and writing with writing,that is what is expected of a civilized society.

    if all in society were agreed on the truth ,beauty and value of one proposition, all - except one person, it would be most important, in fact, it would become even more important, that that one heretic be heard, because we would still benefit from his perhaps outrageous or appalling view.
    - John Stuart Mill

    every time you silence someone you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something. In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases as is the right of the other to voice his or her view.
    - Christopher Hitchens summing up John Milton - "Areopagitica", Thomas Paine - "The Age of Reason", John Stuart Mill - "On Liberty".

    All those who wish to "offend" me on account of what I have written above may have a field day doing so.

    I may not agree with what you think, say or write but I will defend to my death your right to think,say or write what you wish to - Voltairean thought.

    DisAgree [1] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohan Prabhu, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Fri, Feb 8 2019

    Fundamental rights are never absolute; they are subject to reasonable limits especially if one right, such as freedom of expression or freedom of religion, clashes with another equally protected right. Those who incite intolerance on the basis of one right are answerable to the Law which is supreme.

    DisAgree [2] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Fri, Feb 8 2019

    Fekugiri should be Banned ...

    DisAgree [7] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • U.SURESH, Udupi

    Fri, Feb 8 2019

    U will be the first one?

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • abdul, udupi

    Fri, Feb 8 2019

    after 2014, the chaiwala government has curtailed the freedom of expression for anyone who speaks against BJP and RSS.

    Only hindu maha sabha, RSS and affiliated organization can bark without lagaam

    DisAgree [5] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Udupi

    Sat, Feb 9 2019

    Jokers have so much freedom to abuse that they dont have freedom to abuse.. alas when will tax leaches learn it.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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