If there was ever a time for the judiciary to redeem itself and to end the ambiguity about free speech, the time is now, when press freedoms stand at a critical crossroads, argues Gautam Bhatia in The Outlook.
It has not been a good week for free speech in India. First, there was Penguin India’s decision to withdraw Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus from circulation, under legal pressure from fringe right-wing groups—much criticized in the media. Fresh on its heels followed Reporters Without Borders’ annual report, which placed India at a damning 140th place out of 180 countries in terms of press freedoms. Yet even as free speech liberals attempt to regroup, and take stock of a deteriorating situation, there is yet another lawsuit winding its way through the Calcutta High Court, which could have devastating consequences for the independent press in India.