Friday, February 13, 2009

Fragile institutional foundations of free speech

A few days ago, Johann Hari's article in The Independent was reprinted in The Statesman, a Calcutta newspaper.

This got the editor of The Statesman arrested. That the CPI(M) dislikes this editor is widely known, but a civilised country is one in which it's safe to be disliked by governments.

Read Hari's response (which appeared in The Independent), a blog post by Pratap Bhanu Mehta and a blog post on the `Law and other things' blog.

Since I'm a card carrying economist, I think about incentives. The bad guys think that such intimidation will suppress free speech. Do forward this to your friends so that Hari's article gets the maximal possible readership. If the bad guys see that such interference actually increases visibility for the articles that they dislike, this might reduce their incentive to behave like this. The Internet is the greatest weapon in favour of free speech in India, since there is no possibility of a Great Firewall of China coming about.


  1. My rants, along similar lines, on the Statesman episode, FYI: and

  2. A blogger can now be nailed by the Indian court. Free speech is no more a reality []



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