What exactly is freedom of speech? How does one exercise it and defend it? More importantly, why does it matter? And why should you, as a citizen, care about it? In our latest podcast series, Awaaz Do, Neha Mathews attempts to answer these questions through conversations with activists, lawyers, artists and others, and uncovers the various ways in which our free speech is restricted.
On the second episode of the Awaaz Do podcast series, we delve into the many ways in which speech and expression are restricted. First, we talk to Shehla Rashid Shora, the ex Vice President of the JNU Student’s Union, about organised trolling, threats and harassment over social media leading to self-censorship and how colloquially ubiquitous words like sedition and anti-national have become. Next, Urmila Pullat, a human rights lawyer at the Asian Human Rights Commission, talks about the reasonable restrictions on free speech and expression listed in our constitution. Are these restrictions being misused to shut down dissent? Last, we explore the threat of obscenity laws with Smita Vanniyar, who works with issues regarding gender, sexuality and technology at the Mumbai-based non-profit Point of View.