Sunday, August 9, 2015

Editors Guild Condemns I&B Ministry’s Notices to Three Channels Over Memon’s Hanging

NBIt is a rich irony that this government has accused news channels for disrespecting the Supreme Court. One of the first steps the Modi government took with regard to the justice system was to sabotage the elevation of the respected lawyer Gopal Subramaniam to the Supreme Court in June 2014, with the help of a slander campaign. 

Since then it has repeatedly shown its contempt for the rule of law:
An emergency without the declaration is being implemented, and it is up to the citizens who value democracy to defend the Indian constitution. All the ideologues with big expectations of this government should examine their consciences and speak out. It will be their turn next. The story behind the Vyapam scam should be enough to open their eyes: DS
The First Sign a Government is Losing Its Nerve: Shekhar Gupta
On August 8, the Editors Guild of India condemned the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s issuing show-cause notices to three TV news channels for their coverage related to Yakub Memon’s hanging, terming the action as “shocking” and called for an immediate withdrawal of the notices.

The Guild’s President N. Ravi said in a statement that “it is shocking that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry should have issued notices to ABP News, NDTV and Aaj Tak for their coverage of the Yakub Memon issue under the cable TV regulations.” “Those regulations were never meant to be used to stop the free and vigorous discussion of matters of public interest, however disagreeable the content might be to the government.”

He added that Yakub Memon’s case before the Supreme Court and the President and the subsequent execution were “matters of widespread public interest with sharply polarised viewpoints.” “The discussion of the issues was obviously in the nature of political speech that should be allowed free expression without curbs,” the statement said, and that “viewpoints unacceptable to the government ought not to be penalised on the specious plea that they would incite violence or spread hatred.”

The guild called upon the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to withdraw the notices. It also said that “it is time for a re-examination of the broadcasting regulations that on the face of it look over-broad and leave room for misuse in violation of the right to Freedom of Expression under Article 19 1(a) of the Constitution.”

see also
It is no secret that the unstated reason for the government’s opposition was that Mr. Subramanium was the amicus curiae in the Sohrabuddin encounter case (Sohrabuddin Sheikh was prosecuted by the same CBI) and in other cases, where senior figures of the current government are allegedly complicit... In a country where the Judiciary is in charge of its own appointments, something more substantial than an IB report based on innuendo and hearsay is required before impugning the integrity of the candidate and the appointment process.
Sanjiv Chaturvedi: zero tolerance for honesty in the Narendra Modi government

"The masterminds of the 26/11 attacks are treated like heroes in Pakistan. We are not there yet, but if hidden hands nudge the judicial system to free murderers of the saffron variety, we will be soon"
The Broken Middle (on the 30th anniversary of 1984)

More on justice in India, the death penalty, etc.
NB: I am adding a citation from an important book on Nazism written in the 1930's, Behemoth, The Structure and Practice of National SocialismNew York, republished 1963, p 27. The author was Franz Neumann. A pdf file may be read here: < 
(The counter revolution) ‘…tried many forms and devices, but soon learned that it could come to power only with the help of the state machine and never against it… the Kapp Putsch of 1920 and the Hitler Pustch of 1923 had proved this.. In the centre of the counter revolution stood the judiciary. Unlike administrative acts, which rest on considerations of convenience and expediency, judicial decisions rest on law, that is on right and wrong, and they always enjoy the limelight of publicity. Law is perhaps the most pernicious of all weapons in political struggles, precisely because of the halo that surrounds the concepts of right and justice… ‘Right’, Hocking has said, ‘is psychologically a claim whose infringement is met with a resentment deeper than the injury would satisfy, a resentment that may amount to passion for which men will risk life and property as they would never do for an expediency’. When it becomes ‘political’, justice breeds hatred and despair among those it singles out for attack. Those whom it favours, on the other hand, develop a profound contempt for the very value of justice, they know that it can be purchased by the powerful. As a device for strengthening one political group at the expense of others, for eliminating enemies and assisting political allies, law then threatens the fundamental convictions upon which the tradition of our civilization rests…