Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The How What Why

I recently came across a blog post on the sanduskyregister that got me thinking. It talked about a Supreme Court case in the U.S. involving a certain radical group that shouted anti-gay slogans during the funeral procession of a U.S. Marine. The blogger referred to an article written on the same issue, that said that the law should not try to silence this group if it allows others (for eg. preachers who profess that gay people are sinners bound to hell) to voice their opinions so openly. The blogger went on to say -
To ask the law to distinguish between what they say and how they say it puts our freedom of expression at risk. 
So, shouting some thing on the streets is punishable by law while saying the same thing in a sermon by a religious authority is protected by the law. How something is said becomes as important as what is being said, when it comes to the freedom of speech and expression.

If I apply the same logic to the Arundhati Roy sedition case, I would argue that if she had written the same speeches in the form of a book, it might have been acceptable within the limits of freedom of speech and expression (though there's a chance the book would have been censored too). But since she chose to shout it out on the microphone in front of an audience, it was immediately termed seditious and punishable.

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