Monday, February 06, 2012

Freedom of Expression

On the issue of GoI banning content in Internet sites - I am seeing quite a bit of criticism against the ban. All of which is written on the internet. A good chunk of the criticism is clearly written by idiots who have mistakenly assumed themselves to be proponents of free speech. I am sensing a pattern of ignoring details that is now abnormally common among people who'd like to classify themselves as 'liberals' in Facebook. One can make a good case for an unilateral ban on free speech that targets these so called free speech proponents.

Let us examine 2 cases.

Case 1: Person A of religious persuasion 1 goes and arbitrarily slaps/beats up person B. He does so because person B belongs to religious persuasion 2. Person B's reputation does not suffer as a result of being beaten up since no one else is aware of it except persons A & B. When pulled up in court person A says that he hated the fact that person B's religious views did not align to his own views. Person A says he has freedom to disagree with person B and as a means of expressing his disagreement he chose to beat up person B. Person A's argument is that since he has freedom of expression he should not be pulled up in court. He further states that if person B disagrees then person B has three options (a) he can feel free to disagree with being beaten up (b) choose to ignore the fact that he was beaten up. Being beaten up is like a TV channel. He can choose not to see a channel if he doesn't like it. No one else knows about the fact that person B was beaten up. So its really up to person B to ignore this fact. (c) Person B can choose to repay in kind and beat up Person A if he so desires. Overall person A's point is the judiciary need not interfere as it is a matter that can be settled between the two parties.

Case 2: Person A of religious persuasion 1 goes and arbitrarily insults humiliates ridicules person B. He does so because person B belongs to religious persuasion 2. Person A does this act both in internet, in person and in mainstream media. Many many people become aware of Person B's humiliation and in their interactions with Person B they use this fact against person B either directly or indirectly. That person B has been humiliated is a fact and has done irreparable harm to his reputation regardless of whether person B chooses to see/hear the insult in the webpage/media or not. When pulled up in court person A says that he hated the fact that person B's religious views did not align to his own views. Person A says he has freedom to disagree with person B and as a means of expressing his disagreement he chose to insult and humiliate person B. Person A's argument is that since he has freedom of expression he should not be pulled up in court. He further states that if person B disagrees then person B has three options (a) he can feel free to disagree with being humiliated (b) choose to ignore the fact that he was humiliated. Being insulted in TV/Media/Internet up is like a program in a TV channel. He can choose not to see a channel if he doesn't like it. (c) Person B can choose to repay in kind and humiliate Person A if he so desires. Overall person A's point is the judiciary need not interfere as it is a matter that can be settled betwene the two parties.

The idiots who think they are proponents of free speech, consider case 1 and case 2 to be different. Judging by the arguments expressed in the internet - if these liberals were a judge in that court - then 9 times out of 10 they'd rule Case 1 against Person A and case 2 against person B. Mostly because they consider verbal abuse as an optional intrusion of one's fundamental rights. Specifically, in case 2 - they believe Person B could continue to exercise his fundamental rights if he personally chose to ignore visiting the websites that insult him or choose not to watch the TV channels which humiliate him. Let us say - you tweak case 2 slightly and say - no one else was aware of Person B's humiliation. And that it was person B's personal and private angst, mental torture and humiliation. Then 10/10 liberals would rule case 2 against person B. The logic here is that person A's actions independently have no meaning. It is person A's opinion of how much person B suffered that matters the most.

People who understand 'free speech' and relationship between an individual and organized religion/institutions may not always see this way.

P.s: To make things simple - one can also assume Persuasion 1 = atheism and persuasion 2 = whatever form of relationship with god that the Dalai Lama preaches.


31 comments:

Venkat said...

your point on liberals and their stupid argument on defending freedom of speech is taken, but I have a problem with you extrapolating to say that it (FoS) should be banned!
From what I see - it's not just liberals with their stereotypical arguments who are countering the ban, but a lot of other people (conservative, couldn't care less types) too because while it is good for controlling stupid opinion, it has the unwarranted larger effect of stifling awareness too...
We should be better of with FoS existing and using discretion than it being banned and taken for a ride!
If I didn't know you better (by being an avid reader of your blog for the past 5-6 years), I would have accused you starting with the contrarian premise and building arguments to justify that :)

- Venkat

Srijith Unni said...

Hip G'ma, In my opinion free speech can never be over rated. Not all free speeches that are made are good and some are to humiliate someone's religious sentiments. Agreed! But, if we allow the implementation of a full ban on free speech, many important other opinions would also get pushed under the carpet by GoI. Blatant misuse of this ban can surely be expected to suppress movements like the Anti Corruption Movement/ online petitions.

Hurting of religious sentiments have been there on the internet for quite some time now. The GoI never reacted. It is in the light of the Arab Spring and Team Anna's activities that the GoI has been alerted to the power of internet as a medium, which is why they are trying to implement the ban.

Anonymous said...

As a long time reader of this blog I'm disappointed by your naive understanding in this issue. You think beating up and speech are one and the same? seriously?

~~~~~~~~~~~~
In fact I'm humiliated by this article that criticizes most cherished belief system in my life namely the liberalism and free speech. I want to go to court and ban this article and punish you for insulting and humiliating my belief system and so indirectly humiliating me! I'll give you an option to remove this article now & escape punishment since I'm a long time admirer of this blog.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

;-) Now don't say ridiculing religious belief is different from ridiculing political belief. According to you when beating up can be equated, why not this? Why should my religious belief get protection but not political belief? At least arguments for political beliefs are made by reason & not appeal to invisible sky god who told few people to write his story. :p

Understand where your argument leads to?

I said...

Kamal maari puriyamaye pesara.

austrian said...

Hawkeye,

Usually your arguments are much more persuasive but I found both the cases you have shown to illustrate your point are rather weak and really don't make a case against freedom of speech.

Here's the First Amendment of the US constitution (classic text of the Freedom of speech):

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Let us take Case 1: In case 1 as you have shown, Person A has clearly infringed on the rights of Person B by beating him up. Beating a person up is arguably more severe than say, destroying his property and therefore infringed on Person B's rights this is not "freedom of expression". "beating a person" is not "expressing", it is "acting upon anger".

Case 2 is the classic example of "Ad Hominem". Person A is humiliating/ridiculing Person B instead of actually critiquing his beliefs, therefore Person A is the one who looks like a fool and not Person B. Sure Person B can get offended but if Person B was reasonable and understood it's the Person A who's looking poor here, then this is a non-issue. It's a price we need to pay as a society to ensure Freedom of Speech.

The whole point of "Freedom of Speech" is to protect people who make controversial/dissident speeches, not the people who make speeches that are in agreement with the establishment or the government.

What's your position on SOPA? Do you actually believe that there will be less piracy by imposing bans and constraining freedom on the Internet?

SOPA is much more than just "stopping online piracy" if you don't know already:

here's a good youtube link
that describes the draconian nature of SOPA.

What if you make a valid case against some powerful government or corporation on your blog and your site gets banned?

Hawkeye said...

venkat/srijith,

im a long time supporter of restriction of free speech as a trade off to improve government effeciency. i especially think a government should be able to muzzle 24x7 news media at will. if a side effect of that means that my blog will be shut down, im happy with that trade-off.

here are your choices - do you want a government which misuses its power to stifle free speech (or) do you want vested groups which misuse free speech that results in govt being more ineffecient that what it tries to be.

the former will happen by default. the latter can be stopped.

anonymous,

i refer back to my post which i think you may have missed

"The logic here is that person A's actions independently have no meaning. It is person A's opinion of how much person B suffered that matters the most."


you make the point that precisely got me concerned from reading thro different op-eds in internet.

you somehow think beating up is more infringing on other's personal space than abusing because one is physical and other is verbal. it seems like you can make distinctions only when differences are so superficially obvious. I would say disagreeing or having a contrarian view with someone is very very different from humiliating, ridiculing and abusing someone. Its not even a nuance. But because those are both verbal/soft actions you seem to think they are the same. the granularity with which you seem to distinguish events needs to increase.

Hawkeye said...

austrian,

so your view of the world is that 'defamation' is a naive concept. no one gets defamed in reality. its the defamer who is always looked down upon.

austrian said...

/* i especially think a government should be able to muzzle 24x7 news media at will. */

This statement is a distorted perception of reality. because it IS the government that keeps the news media 24x7 running. news media = propaganda that's perpetuated by the government. I recommend you read 'manufacturing consent' by Noam Chomsky so that your misplaced belief/faith in the government is corrected.

/*do you want a government which misuses its power to stifle free speech (or) do you want vested groups which misuse free speech that results in govt being more ineffecient that what it tries to be.*/

I think the latter choice puts trust in something that is known to deteriorate and prone to entropy as opposed to the former choice, which accepts that deterioration of the government can happen and it is reality. So I would argue the former choice is wiser.

/* 'defamation' is a naive concept. no one gets defamed in reality. its the defamer who is always looked down upon.*/

Not at all. Defamation is reality, but defamation should not be used as an argument to curtail freedom of speech.

Please read this link for more details.

Here's an excerpt of relevance:

One of the best responses to defamatory comments is a careful rebuttal. If people who make defamatory comments are shown to have gotten their facts wrong, they will lose credibility. But this only works if people have roughly the same capacity to broadcast their views.

Only a few people own or manage a newspaper or television station. Therefore it is difficult to rebut prominent defamatory statements made in the mass media. Free speech is not much use in the face of media power. There are cases where people's reputations have been destroyed by media attacks. Defamation law doesn't provide a satisfactory remedy. Apologies are usually too late and too little to restore reputation, and monetary pay-outs do little for reputation.

Most media organisations avoid making retractions. Sometimes they will defend a defamation case and pay out lots of money rather than openly admit being wrong. Media owners have resisted law reforms that would require retractions of equal prominence to defamatory stories.

By contrast, if you are defamed on an electronic discussion group, it is quite easy to write a detailed refutation and send it to all concerned the next hour, day or week. Use of defamation law is ponderous and ineffectual compared to the ability to respond promptly. This suggests that promoting interactive systems of communication as an alternative to the mass media would help to overcome some of the problems associated with defamation.

S m i t h a said...

The plaintiff of any lawsuit has to show damages. Personal injury, Loss of business, or other such tangible, measurable damages. A case based only on "hurt feelings" has no standing in a court of law. Without any actual damages listed in your motion it will be thrown out of court without even a hearing. So yes, your case 1 & 2 are completely different for a Judge.

Only in archaic countries like India, there still is actually an exception (section 295A) to the "hurt feeling" rule: when religion is involved. In all other western countries where "Free speech" is practiced, one can say anything about anyone -even insulting, humiliating things- as long as they don't incite violence (Hate speech) and not make defamatory statements which are untrue (Libel)

Person A's "words" has no meaning unless heard in context of person B's rebuttal of the same, which incidentally is an adult response to the situation, not re-insult. Albeit person A's "actions" of beating up B is a crime, period.

Also, your choice of words like "humiliating", "ridiculing", "verbal abuse", "mental torture", "personal and private angst".. suggests that person A is a bully or not an adult or The Joker or some combination thereof. In any case, B has much better options to consider than the 3 you've provided. Restraining order, ass smack, Batman.. comes to mind.

Murali said...

I guess your age is showing up, Hawkeye. I am pretty convinced, you would not have blogged this 5 years ago.

Physical violence is not relative. Everyone gets hurt to the almost same extent. Physical violence endangers ones life. Physical violence can be used threaten someone into submission. The victim has no choice to avoid the hurt. He has no choice to choose the amount of hurt. Your freedom to live & express can be limited by physical violence.

Speech on the other hand is not severe. A person can choose to avoid the hurt (by not listening), avoid the amount of hurt (by not getting offended).

There are times when somebody tarnishes ones image by mis-information, and hence may cause loss of business/relationship. Such kind of hearsay/derogation may result in considerable unavoidable loss. But, these are illegal. You may approach courts on these issues. Surely, you're not referring to them.

Calling a particular religion/belief non-sense doesn't cause anyone any harm. You can choose to ignore it. Isn't that what religious-conversions work on. If atheists do it, you're against it. But, a church does it, you'll say they're spreading the message of love.

Prove me wrong, with a good reason.

Hawkeye said...

smitha/murali,

i guess valluvar didnt know what he was talking about :-) when he said

தீயினால் சுட்ட புண் உள்ளாறும்
ஆறாதே நாவினால் சுட்ட வடு

aparna said...

Its funny to see makkal's reaction from the previous child abuse post to this one. I think thats why you even blog!

Anonymous said...

The rationale behind "free speech" is not that anyone can say anything without censorship or accountability but that no one (people, group of people, government) can fairly/efficiently moderate speech to the net benefit of individuals/society. Power corrupts and hence the concentration of power in a few individuals or government will be bad and unfair. So both the repulsive Harsha Bhogle and the eloquent Richie Benaud can speak.

We are not going for the best case scenario (no hurt people or no bleeding ears) but we want to avoid the worst case scenario (e.g. the Soviet Union where millions went through much more than having to change TV channels).

Hence- Person A has the right to flame Person B's beliefs. Person B has the right to be outraged and respond to Person A. Person A has the right to respond to the response from Person B, and so on. The free speech-tards may say because Person A has the right to free speech, Person B should not/cannot respond/be outraged/ book a criminal case if the law of the land unfortunately allows it. Free speech and the legal system have to be open to everyone, and works both ways. For good and bad.

In India free speech that can be construed as being even slightly against Muslims/minorities is censored (Google was asked to block a stupid flash ad showing a pig in Mecca, The Da Vinci Code was banned ) but MF Hussain had a free ride. The government pandered/surrendered to Muslims while they know Hindus by and large will not vote/will not suicide-bomb based solely on paintings. This is what it will come down to if any authority/people/body has the power to control speech or for that matter the economy -- they will use it unfairly against some people for their expedience.

We also do not want to be an anarchy. If Person A says something against Person B (How are you?), we want to prevent Person B murdering/hitting Person A. So we have laws discouraging assault/violence as a response to the slightest verbal slight. To establish a balance and arrive at some agreed-upon ground rules for a civil society.

We are not saying, "Hurt? Go fuck off." We tolerate it so that we do not have to tolerate something far worse.

-S

Hawkeye said...

(im responding as i get time)

austrian,

but most of what you quote in italics support a case to muffle a person who abuses unilaterally and has the vantage point to amplify his views better than the defamed.

Smitha,

1. i disagree on your point about 'mental hurt'. i think 'irreparable mental damage' is a common grounds for a lawsuit in many countries. its usually a supplementary aspect of any lawsuit to milk maximum damages


2. Your usage of 'archiac' for india and your support of insulting and humiliation of religion in western countries. Are you saying this from a neutral point of you - in that as per rules of logic and argumentation - you think this is a fair approch that balances harmony of all people in community (or) you ar ebasing this on the fact that you dont care about religion and so basically saying 'let em have a go, screw those people who are offended'

/* Person A's "words" has no meaning unless heard in context of person B's rebuttal of the same, which incidentally is an adult response to the situation, not re-insult.*/

in effect you contend that B's ability to deal with defamation decides whether A's actions are illegal or not. A's actions independently cannot cause the state to decide whether it is unprovoked, causing disharmony, unequal-combat etc. If A's insults were clearly vitreous and unjustified but B is incapable of any sort of comeback - then A gets away scott free?

You last point - which is what I want to zone in on - I only care about unilateral humiliation, ridicule and abuse in the pretext of humor and parody or a a direct abuse. I dont care about healthy disagreements. they are out of scope to this post. Can abuse/ridicule/parody-to-devalue be banned because of the unequalness of the playing ground or because of it needless disrupts harmony and can cause intangible damage to B?

Hawkeye said...

murali,

let me take a copletely hypothetical situation. and I dont mean to insult you or something like that. Itis a bit extreme but This is a totally hypothetical situation. So treat it that way. I am just trying to explore boundary conditions here where your logic may break down. try an dbe honest and not reply to protect your face/ego:

Lets say you were impotent and had premature ejaculation issues. you were unable to satisfy your wife. Thats why she left you, slept with many other men who could satisfy her and eventually lives separately. I somehow got to know this information.

Can I take a full page advt in a newspaper or create a web page or a print bit notice that will be distributed in tambaram railway station and really promote this information? What I say will be totally factual. But you will never get married again nor will you have a successful social life of any sorts.

You can choose to ignore all the advertisements I take out on your and ignore visiting the web page.

What do you prefer? (a) That I be arrested/proecuted so that this acts as a deterrent for such future crimes? (b) that I be let go because I was very factual.

And out of curiousity - if given a choice would you prefer that I had slapped you in private (or) take out these avertisements and bit notices.

Do you think choosing to not see those abuses causes less damage to you or your psyche. Other people who see it will speak about it to you. many will make fun of you as well.

Under these extreme conditions - does your theaory of physical abuse vs verbal abuse break down?

Hawkeye said...

S,

among the responses I have seen so far - your response exactly matches my theory on why the government/legal people have allowed the current equilibrium on free speech to exist.

I think a better equilibrium is possible. I hope to explore that in future posts.

The hot chic at Cafe Coffee day said...

for one of the most obnoxious, yet hilarious, outspoken bloggers out there, it is quite ironic to hear that you would like to ban 'freedom of expression'.

much as i disagree with your view that 'freedom of expression' is evil, i think it banning any expression will also ban hawkeye.

wow, is that what you call recursive?

austrian said...

/* but most of what you quote in italics support a case to muffle a person who abuses unilaterally and has the vantage point to amplify his views better than the defamed. */

hawkeye,

you are making a naive assumption that all persons who abuse verbally have the same platform. The truth is they don't. And the ones that you worry about (which is ordinary persons) can be rebutted easily. as I said, choices have tradeoffs.

The trade off that you make is known to fail because Power corrupts. It is always known to, there's the entire human history that demonstrates that power corrupts. And I have also shown that the trust you place in the government is not valid at all.

In summary, I don't think you make a convincing case for curtailing freedom of speech. In fact, the weak arguments you present end up making a case for freedom of speech.

I am a ComplexNumber said...

Please stick to comedy.
You have no idea of what you are writing about.

Murali said...

Excellent point, Hawkeye. That's why your blogs are followed so much.. Its easy to agree with you and you articulate it so well.

There are many things (incl., your example of hypothetical impotency) which I would be ashamed/sensitive of in public, and I would gladly accept a slap in exchange of secrecy.

The 3 Karnataka ministers caught watching porn in assembly gladly accept a slap. Aren't they being hounded by media?

Lets up the stakes a bit. If the alternative of you not putting full-page ads was, chopping off my hands of legs & spilling my guts out.. would I still prefer your physical violence ?

My choice between 2 bad alternatives, is the least offensive one. But, that doesn't make your act legal or acceptable.

And, there are laws relating to protecting your personal life from public scrutiny. Everyone of us has something to be embarrassed about.

BTW,I didn't understand the tamizh kural. I would really appreciate a translation.

Murali said...

Not that I am totally against restriction of free-speech. I am against comparing it with physical violence.

Hurt feelings are relative. Any 3rd person (incl. government and courts) deciding how hurt you're and hence deciding whether a particular speech should be restricted, is a biased opinion and has to be exercised only in extreme cases. Courts exist to interpret such cases with the wisdom, in addition to reason.

There is far more danger in giving the right to restrict speech to a powerful lobby (govt), than the collateral damage in unrestricted speech occasionally hurting sentiments.

Sun-centric solar system was blasphemy and was restricted-speech, at one point of time.

Anonymous said...

A better equilibrium is possible by one or more of the below.

1. Self-moderation and decency on the part of everyone. Needless to say, that is out of the window.

2. Social and legal consequences for abusing somebody. Defamation laws, social sanctions (like that against Mike Richards, the case against Subramania Swamy for publicly using the word "parayan"). But then this seems to work selectively and non-uniformly. Rappers say things about their race that are far worse than Mike Richards can even dream of. As in the Seinfeld episode 'I am Jewish, so I can make Jewish jokes.' Stereotypical/ethnic jokes/depiction about/of whites, Jews, Christians, Indians, Brahmins, Hindus, Irish, Italians are given far more leeway than what is given for dalits, blacks or Muslim-"Americans." May be because the guardians of social tolerance have an ulterior selective motive or people are afraid of how one group of made-up hyphenated Americans will react. Teaches the sportive/tolerant groups to be sportive and tolerant, take that.

3. A benevolent and noble dictator/body who/which promptly enforces costs and reprimands on expression that has 'bad' consequences, fairly and incorruptibly. Human nature is not conducive for this as history has repeatedly proved.

--

"Free-speech" is not an end in itself. It is only a means of ensuring the worst possible scenario does not happen. Hypothetically if a far better society/balance is possible without the need for free speech/media, I'd take that. Unfortunately that has been proven to be impossible too. What the free speech-tards may miss is: FS is not a part of the constitution of the universe. Speech has social costs(by effect), legal/monetary costs(the right has to be maintained and defended at tax payer* expense)and cultural consequences (4th standard boy learning to say "ngotha" or "fuck" or watching Janet Jackson's boobs which may reflect on him and the society some day). Free speech does not need to be celebrated but only put-up with as a necessary mixed bag.

*The tax payer includes people who don't blog or who are not media people by the way.

When Dan Rather outed that Guantanamo torture thing, it led to undermining of the U.S. military/foreign policy and loss of lives. For good or bad, we are over the Tory "For God and country" cry. The news media is supposed to be neutral and aloof off national loyalties (TRP anyone?). People argue this somehow will lead to the betterment of the U.S. military/policy down the line because abuse was exposed. I am not so sure about this although I hope it does. I'd have loved it if the U.S. DoD had booked CBS for treason and shut them down. But I am glad that did not happen.

-S

Hawkeye said...

i am a complex,

most people who are brainwashed on 'freee speech is a fundamental right' thingie start off responding to this post this way. your reaction is typical of a person who does not have a good rebuttal at hand.

Hawkeye said...

austrian,

/* you are making a naive assumption that all persons who abuse verbally have the same platform. The truth is they don't. */

yes they dont. that they dont is the problem I am pointing to. And that is why you could selectively ban freedom of speech for those who do.

you are making naive asusmptions about my naive assumptions on the government. I dont trust the gvernment. At all. I actually dont like democracy as well. Does that help you not get entangled in what you think i believe might work

Anonymous said...

athey valluvar enna solirikarna..."Innar seitharai oruthal avar naana nanaiyam seithu vidal" nu.Athigarathuku etha maari maathi maathi pesuvan intha agarathi pidichavan...Keta free speech nu vera solluvan sir...

I am a ComplexNumber said...

Hawkeye,
I responded that way because your reply
"murali,

let me take a completely hypothetical situation."
response

seems to be too perverted / in bad taste.

I had a lengthy reply prepared and
tossed that for a one liner.

You could have easily given examples like
"Free speech during Nov attacks in Mumbai" and how it impacted real lives - both of general public and that of jawans.

Anyway, coming to the point, when there is a argument, if you have a major / minor point to counter that, pick the major point. Yours seem to be too narrow / in case of response to Murali, too perverted. Murali could have easily turned that example and given a more perverted response.
I strongly believe based on your other posts that you have better point to convey and rushed with a hurried response.

Free speech and Right to privacy go hand in hand.

It is not that anyone can speak anything and get away with that.

Govt by definition is more powerful and hence Free speech is emphasized as a private individual's right. Just like Right to privacy.

Yes there are boundaries to it. It is not "free" in that sense. You are not to be troubled by the govt just because you spoke against it.

At the same time you cannot speak crap and get away with it.

You have the right to free speech and there is a legal system that should protect rights of others who can potentially get hurt.

I don't think in India we have a jury and also even if we have one, they would have to abide by law which already has enough in it to protect such cases.

S m i t h a said...

1. Personal injury covers 'mental damage' as well. But 'irreparable mental damage' is awarded in the extreme of cases where there was systematical victimization of someone and that the victim could not get out of the situation by any means. Cases like abusive marriage, insane stalker, abuse of trust by an authoritative figure etc..
Do you think internet trolling, verbal abuse and insult needs to be added to this list?

2. Free speech is not about being fair or balancing harmony. Mine or anybody's motivation behind a speech is immaterial. In any conversation, we have the right to pick sides. But we don't have the right to 'not be offended'.

I'll always contend, a free flow of ideas -although not designed to be harmonious- will eventually reward the best ideas and course correct itself from the bad ones.

You use 'words' and 'actions' interchangeably. I don't agree that they can be. I would consider any unprovoked, disharmonious, unequal, vitreous and unjustified insults that A hurls at B is a personal/internal matter between them. They can settle it however they want, even involve the courts. I do not want privy to that. I certainly do not want the government to invite itself into that dispute, wasting my tax money no less.

Courts cannot decide on cases based on "hurt feelings" or "matter of opinion" or "religious sentiments" or such asinine situations because the ultimate argument from both sides will be like "My scripture says so!" or "Its my strong belief..". The court cannot call a witness, retest or recreate the events, or get any kind of corroboration in these cases. Thats why they insist on tangible damages, facts, scientific theories, eye-witnesses etc.. and hear none of the kinder-garden whining.

Even in your hypothetical "impotency" situation, the person who leaked the information can be brought to court with "violation of privacy" clause, and it is still the defamed person's prerogative whether to bring those charges or not. It is neither the job of the Government to bring those charges nor the rightful use of its power to preemptively issue a summary blanket ban on impotency-pamphlets of any kind to protect the fame/feelings of all its citizens.

Because you are fond of contrived hypothetical situations, let me spin one of my own to drive my point home. Lets say, one fine day I decide to start a new religion called Sanctorum and I declare, "Chapter I Verse 1. The Blessed Virgin of the Arse appeared in my visions and told me that defecation is an abomination unto God. 2. Thou shalt not defecate except on the holy second Saturday of each month, 3. when thou shalt unplug thy rod or thy shaft from thy anus to go about thy holy business. 4. Blessed are those who cant shit 5. whilst infidels are those who defied Thy Defecation Deed 6. BTW, death/hell to the infidels"
For argument sake, lets says owing to a piles epidemic this religion picks up and find many followers. Lets say they go around distributing butt-wedges(appu) to people on the street in a manner of proselytizing and some fundamentalist devout even goes all biblical on someone else's ass...

Now would you want the Government -to protect the religious sentiments of Sanctorum and to maintain harmony- order all its citizens to plug their assholes with appu because when people of other religion defecate on non-designated days they unprovokedly, dis-harmoniously, unequally, vitreously(!) and unjustifiably cause extreme discomfort, personal and private angst, insulting to the Gods and humiliation to a great many followers of Sanctorum.

Or would you rather feel constipated, that the Government locking your bathroom is uncalled for, even though it is in the name of what is good for the greater good/harmony of the community.

Sreekrishnan said...

Actually this would be the first post of yours that i didn't understand. i just wanted to point out that there is slight but good difference in "Freedom of Speech" and "Freedom of Expression".

The intent of the constitution - the way i was taught - as i understood, is that You don't speak or express anything that infringes on anyone else's other important fundamental rights including "Freedom of religion" even.

That way you exercise a Fundamental right by crippling the other.

On the other hand - taking offense on anything being said by people NOT directly related to a public office or a responsible position that directly impacts the progress of the country is the immaturity of the society.

Shalu Sharma said...

Freedom of expression has taken a battering these days.

Anonymous said...

Good Bye Mr. Hawkeye

ankur verma said...

I’ll allow you to all know if it is great. Cannot wait around to determine it in individual!songs