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Films, caste and violence

Its happening again. Actor Karthis Komban, due for release this week, is in the eye of the storm after K. Krishnasamy, leader of the pro-Dalit party, Puthiya Thamilagam, demanded a ban on the film saying that it would incite violence in the State.

The call for a ban has stemmed from the fear that the film could be glorifying the Thevar community, dominant in Tamil Nadus southern districts. This has triggered yet another debate on censorship and relevance of censor board in Tamil Nadu.

While freedom of speech and expression must be defended, one must also be empathetic and create space for those who disagree with the film, say intellectuals and filmmakers.

Tamil and Dalit intellectuals have criticised the film for glorifying the Thevar community, a politically and socially dominant community in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu

Filmmaker Prabhakaran’s Sundarapandian, featuring actor Sasi Kumar in the lead role, was accused of sensationalising caste pride and honour killing in the opening sequences of the film.

The director of Komban, M. Muthaiah’s earlier film was also hauled up for its pro-Thevar tilt. The film was accused of glorifying the dominant caste group in southern districts and endorsing anti-Dalit views.

The adoption of market economy coincided with the nation-wide mobilisation of dominant backward castes in India, which had its impact on cinema as well. Other egs: Chinna Gounder, Ejaman

Ravikumar, a Tamil intellectual and member of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, said there is a difference between freedom of speech and freedom to spew hate. The former must be defended, while the latter has to be condemned, he said.

With southern districts of Tamil Nadu seeing a rise in caste-related violence in recent times, an artist must not just view cinema as commodity to be monetised but as cultural product that will have a social impact, he said.

Just like cinema commodifies sex and violence, it has commodified hate as well. In a society where the message of equality is uncommon, an artist must challenge caste-pride and not normalise it, he added.

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Films, caste and violence

Amos Yee: Singapore Teen Mocks Countrys Founder Lee Kuan Yew On YouTube, Gets Arrested

In what is been seen as a curtailment of freedom of speech in Singapore, a teenager from the country was arrested after he uploaded a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the countrys founding father. According to the New York Times, 17-year-old Amos Yee was arrested a day after he made an eight-minute-long video that celebrated the death of Singapores founding father. He also reportedly made offensive remarks against the Christian community in Singapore.

On Monday, officials from Singapore confirmed the arrest of Amos Yee, who has been described as a video blogger. Amos is due to appear in court on Tuesday, and if found guilty, could end up spending three years in prison. He has been charged under a section of the Singaporean law that deals with religious freedom and tolerance. Under Singaporean law, any individual found guilty of insulting religions, sharing obscene material, and offending religious sentiments of its citizens could be imprisoned for up to three years.

In the nearly nine-minute long video that Amos Yee uploaded to YouTube, he criticized Lee Kuan Yew and expressed delight at his death.

Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead! the teenager had typed in and briefly posted an obscene image on his personal blog and on Facebook.

The video posted by Amos quickly went viral, and once the controversy flared up, it was made private probably by the teen himself. However, there were several people who were able to download the YouTube video and upload it again. In the video, Amos is seen upset with the cult of personality that Lee Kuan Yew commanded for himself. He also believed that Lee Kuan Yew was a horrible person and added that several other people in Singapore shared his opinions but were too scared to publicly post what they felt. In the video, Amos also claims that he is not afraid and even challenged Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue him.

According to initial reports, it was a Singaporean lawyer named Chia Boon Teck who filed a complaint against the teenager.

The lawyer also wrote to newspapers in the country, saying, There is a limit to freedom of expression.

While several people have rallied in support of the teenage blogger, several other patriotic Singaporeans believe officials did the right thing by arresting Amos Yee.

Over the course of the past few years, there have been several reports of people being arrested for offensive social media posts. Back in 2012, two girls were arrested in India after they made a Facebook post following a shutdown in their state after the death of a prominent politician. Do you think Amos Yees arrest was warranted?

[Image via ChannelNews Asia]

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Amos Yee: Singapore Teen Mocks Countrys Founder Lee Kuan Yew On YouTube, Gets Arrested

Striking down Sec 66A: Unintended consequences as baby thrown out with bath water

Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act was struck down last week by the Supreme Court and it was hailed as a landmark verdict. There were several aspects of Section 66A which ran contrary to the Indian Constitution dealing with freedom of speech and expression and there is no doubt that the section could not continue as it was.

However has the Supreme Court thrown the baby out with the bath water? As important as it was to deal with Section 66A, the same could have still been watered down instead of being struck down all together.

Pavan Duggal, an expert on cyber laws speaks with OneIndia about the unintended consequences of the verdict. While it was necessary to deal firmly with the verdict, I still feel it could have been watered down by the Supreme Court instead of throwing it out all together especially in this age of the internet where cyber crime and cyber bullying are so rampant.

Firstly can you share your thoughts on the verdict?

I think first and foremost the Supreme Court has supreme powers to strike down any law or legislation. If the Supreme Court is of the opinion that a law or legislation runs contrary to the Constitution, it can strike it down.

The Supreme Court held that Section 66A is contrary to Article 19(2) of the Indian constitution which deals with reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.

To that extent SC has taken a correct line. No amount of restriction which is beyond and above Article 19(2) can be imposed. In this case the judgment looked at what are the reasonable restrictions and came to the opinion that since restrictions do not envisage the restrictions under Section 66a it has to go.

What are the unintended consequences that could arise from this verdict?

The fact remains that striking down Section 66A we have now begun to see a lot consequences. The euphoria which this verdict created was justified to an extent since it held that freedom of speech is sacrosanct.

However it has given an impression to the people that there is an unlimited charter to do whatever they want to do. These persons are having a field day. Cyber bullies are having a field day. Cyber bullying is victimizing schools and educational system.

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Striking down Sec 66A: Unintended consequences as baby thrown out with bath water

Supreme Court strikes down Section 66A of IT Act (27-03-2015) – Video


Supreme Court strikes down Section 66A of IT Act (27-03-2015)
Right to Freedom of Speech on the Internet, the Supreme Court striked off Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that empowers the police to make arrests over contentious social media…

By: V6 News Telugu

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Supreme Court strikes down Section 66A of IT Act (27-03-2015) – Video

[LONG CUT] Video Game Censorship and Freedom of Speech an Interview with Jon Festinger, Q.C. – Video


[LONG CUT] Video Game Censorship and Freedom of Speech an Interview with Jon Festinger, Q.C.
In this video, Jon Festinger, Q.C. discusses Video Game Law, Censorship, Grand Prix Legends, and the importance of Freedom of Speech. Below is a short summary about Jon Festinger: Jon Festinger …

By: BasedGamer

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[LONG CUT] Video Game Censorship and Freedom of Speech an Interview with Jon Festinger, Q.C. – Video

New Today At Nine: What Should Be The Limits Of Freedom Of Speech? – Video


New Today At Nine: What Should Be The Limits Of Freedom Of Speech?
In a landmark verdict, SC struck down Sec 66 (A) of the IT act. In this episode we discuss – Should there be any restriction on freedom of speech on the internet? News Today At Nine, hosted…

By: Headlines Today

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New Today At Nine: What Should Be The Limits Of Freedom Of Speech? – Video

Supreme Court Rules Out Section 66 A – Shriya Singhal – Video


Supreme Court Rules Out Section 66 A – Shriya Singhal
Watch the latest news about Section 66 A regarding freedom of speech. Watch : For More Latest Videos, please check out Breaking News: http://goo.gl/rXYPWO Full Movies: http://goo.gl/mDS9IQ…

By: iDream Telugu News

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Supreme Court Rules Out Section 66 A – Shriya Singhal – Video

Teens targeted as Turkey cracks down on speech

ISTANBUL – A high school student, a former beauty queen and a slew of Turkish journalists are among a growing number of people facing prison sentences for engaging in political dissent, part of what critics say is a widening government crackdown on freedom of speech.

In the last week alone, Turkish authorities questioned, detained or indicted more than a dozen people accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, which – along with berating other top government officials – is forbidden under Turkey’s penal code.

While Turkish journalists who run afoul of the government line have long complained of political pressure and outright censorship, ordinary citizens – including teenagers – are increasingly facing harsh penalties and jail time.

“There’s been a huge escalation in punishment for speech. The traditional modes of censorship that had been applied to Turkish journalists are now starting to be applied to social media users,” said Nate Schenkkan, a Turkey expert at Freedom House, a non-profit group in Washington that seeks to encourage democracy. “President Erdo?an is visibly and clearly seeking to consolidate power under himself.”

A key U.S. ally in a volatile region and NATO member, Turkey was until the past couple years held up as a model democracy in an unstable part of the world. But the latest restrictions have drawn rebuke from lawmakers in Washington. Citing intimidation of media and censorship of the press, 74 senators last week called on the State Department to take up the issue with the Erdo?an administration.

While the country is no longer known as the world’s leading jailer of reporters, prosecutions remain an issue. The Turkish Journalists’ Association this week reported government officials have filed more than 100 lawsuits against at least 60 reporters since 2013. On Tuesday, two cartoonists from the satirical magazine Penguen were convicted and fined $2,700 each for insulting Erdo?an in a caricature that made a reference to the difficult environment for journalists in the country.

Turkey’s insult laws have been on the books for years, but analysts say they’ve been used more aggressively since Erdo?an became the country’s first directly elected president in August after serving as prime minister for more than a decade.

Merve Buyuksarac, a model and 2006 Miss Turkey winner, faces up to two years in prison for sharing a poem on Instagram that prosecutors claim insults the president. The same fate could await a 16-year-old student, who is on trial for insulting Erdo?an during a student protest in the central Anatolian city of Konya. Last month, police questioned a 13-year-old boy over a Facebook post.

There are other signs of a clampdown on free speech. Last week the parliament approved new Internet controls that would allow cabinet members to block websites without a court order. More than 67,000 websites are already inaccessible in Turkey, including those of an atheist association and the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. While last year’s ban on Twitter was eventually overturned, the company received more content removal requests from Turkey than any other country.

Government officials insist they are simply upholding the rule of law. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu defended Turkey’s censorship record in January, saying that “freedom of expression does not mean freedom to insult.”

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Teens targeted as Turkey cracks down on speech

Love Notes $150 in the swear jar

Sections Local News Posted on March 26, 2015 by Maple Creek

By Marcia Love

In recent weeks, a lot has been said about freedom of speech. The heated debate regarding Taber, Albertas controversial new Community Standards Bylaw is the big one that comes to mind. The most interesting aspect of the bylaw to me is the part regarding swearing, which has ruffled many feathers. I find it interesting as someone who grew up in a household where foul language never crossed anyones lips. And I mean never. My dad could even control himself when dealing with stubborn cattle (Yeah, that says it all right there). So it bothers me when Im at a public function and even certain workplaces, where you would think people could at least try to show a little professionalism and certain individuals feel the need to speak their mind very colourfully and loudly, with no regard or respect for those around them. Some would argue they have the right to say what they want in a public forum even if it means screaming obscenities. I would argue I have a right not to hear or be forced to tolerate that type of behaviour. And so it is with the town of Taber, where opinions have been divided not only in the community itself, but across the country on whether or not the towns bylaw is fair and warranted. It does seem ridiculous to have a bylaw dictating what people can and cant say, mostly because people should know how to behave in a public place. But were not talking about someone who lets out a certain word when they trip on the sidewalk. From what I gather, were talking about the kind of people who can drop an F-bomb as a noun, verb and adjective in a sentence, loudly, in the middle of a family-friendly environment. And weve all been in that situation where were trying to carry on a conversation with someone at a reasonable volume in a public place while someone nearby has decided to be that guy. Its rude and obnoxious. You can call it archaic, but clearly the community has a serious problem if the town is looking into solutions like curfews and cracking down on graffiti. And what many may not realize is there are already several municipalities across Canada with similar bylaws on indecent behaviour in their books. Its a point of respect, and when individuals either havent been taught how to offer it or simply refuse to, youre left with little choice but to establish laws demanding them to. Is it going to mean people will clean up their act and language? Not likely. But its addressing a problem. And while Im sure there wont be too many $150 fines going into the swear jar as a result, at least law enforcement has the ability to do something should it be necessary. On the other side of the country, I was surprised to see the MP from my old riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in Ontario making national headlines last week for a comment he made regarding niqabs. Conservative MP Larry Miller was sharing his opinion on the Muslim veil being worn during citizenship oath ceremonies on a local radio station, saying, Frankly, if youre not willing to show your face in a ceremony that youre joining the best country in the world, then stay the (censored for the sake of the previous topic of this column) where you came from. Yet another example of freedom of speech. In this case, the controversy seems to lie more in the manner Miller voiced his opinion rather than what he actually said, because a number of Canadians have backed his comments on social media. Miller has since apologized, saying he recognized his remarks were inappropriate, but stood by his view that anyone being sworn in as a new citizen should uncover their face.

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Love Notes $150 in the swear jar

OSCE representative: No security without media freedom

Source: Tanjug

BELGRADE — There is no security without freedom of the media and expression, and there is no freedom of speech unless we live in a secure society, says Dunja Mijatovic.

Many countries are passing laws in an effort to react to security threats, but those restrictions curtail media freedom, the OSCE reprsentative on freedom of the media noted at the opening of the Strategic Communications in the Security Sector conference in Belgrade on Wednesday.

The media are sometimes unprofessional and do not check all facts, but this must not be an excuse for governments to impose pressure on them, she said, underlining that there is no excuse for violence against those who have a different opinion.

The answer to the question as to what is allowed in the name of security can be found in international documents, in the respect of the principles of democracy, freedom and human rights, Mijatovic said.

German Ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm said that freedom of the media was not limitless, and it was hard to define where the limits were.

It is not enough just to say that there is no excuse for violence, but rather an answer has to be found to the issue of limits, and what constitutes a verbal attack on states, people or their beliefs, Wilhelm added, addressing the event organized by the German Marshall Fund.

BELGRADE — Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has had a phone conversation “with Prime Minister of the interim administration in Pristina Isa Mustafa,” Tanjug said.

BELGRADE — Serbian Foreign Minister and OSCE chairman Ivica Dacic says Serbia is “firmly committed to protecting the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.”

BELGRADE — In the political sense, the establishment of a community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo is an obligation under the Brussels agreement, says Marko Djuric.

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OSCE representative: No security without media freedom

SC’s Verdict On Section 66A Protects Individual’s Freedom Of Speech – Video


SC's Verdict On Section 66A Protects Individual's Freedom Of Speech
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has struck down Section 66A of the IT Act, that allowed the government to take anyone into custody for posting objectionable content on the internet….

By: Aaj Tak

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SC’s Verdict On Section 66A Protects Individual’s Freedom Of Speech – Video


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