Prof Sridhar Krishnaswami delineated the difference between a democratic set up and an authoritarian establishment
Quoting the former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao “Remedy to the ills of democracy is more democracy and not less,” eminent journalist and Head, School of Media Studies, SRM University, Chennai, Prof Sridhar Krishnaswami felt the need for healthy debates and discussion on the freedom of speech and expression and called upon the authorities to ‘take a look at the issues in limitations of freedom of speech and expression considering the objections and suggestions from a wide variety of sections.’
Delivering a special lecture on ‘Freedom of Expression in India’ at a programme jointly organised by the Centre for Proficiency Development and Placement Services (CPDPS) and University of Mysore Alumni Association on Thursday, Prof Krishnaswami maintained that freedom of expression was essential in democratic societies and stressed on its dignified use considering the Indian scenario.
Prof Krishnaswami said that the difference between democracy and totalitarian was that the former gives you freedom to think for unless you think you cannot express yourself; unless you find ways to express yourself, you cannot innovate; unless you innovate you cannot produce things; unless you produce you cannot compete and unless you compete you cannot win. And on the other hand, totalitarian societies do the thinking for you and in the absence of it they tell you how to think and how not to.
“Freedom of expression is absolute in the United States with exceptions on national security and child pornography. The US courts have consistently taken soft positions even on the issues of flag burning. But, at the same time, Donald Trump who is the frontrunner for the US presidential election has given a new meaning to freedom of expression by disseminating hatred through his acrimonious speeches,” he said.
He, however, said that the democratic societies like United States were using national security as a tool to clamp down on freedom of speech and expression and other democratic societies too have been influenced by it.
Commenting on how the journalism ethics were being compromised since the evolution of social media platforms and under the brand of freedom of expression, Prof Krishnaswami said that the rat race for being first had most of the times raised a pertinent issue of credibility of the information.
“With information reaching zillions of people in seconds there will always be a fear about the correctness of the information. And if the sender of the information retracts it, the impression the information would have already created will be ultimate,” he said.
Former IGP (CRPF), K Arkesh and Director, CPDPS, UoM, Prof Niranjana Vanalli were present.
SRM University Head Prof Sridhar Krishnaswami delivered a special lecture on ‘Freedom of Expression in India’ which was jointly organised by the CPDPS and University of Mysore Alumni Association.