It’s time to speak up for freedom of expression, say panelists at Kasauli Litfest
Trolling and threats to journalist Barkha Dutt or author Rana Ayyub and student activist Gurmehar Kaur were cited.books Updated: Oct 07, 2017 21:11 IST
The outrage following the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last month found an echo at the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival in Kasauli on Saturday.
Journalists and authors, including panelists, expressed concern over the threat to freedom of expression in a digital age when even an anecdote could trigger a hate campaign on social media. Trolling and threats to journalist Barkha Dutt or author Rana Ayyub and student activist Gurmehar Kaur were cited.
TV journalist and author Rajdeep Sardesai said, “The (Lankesh) episode has stirred a dormant volcano. She wrote in Kannada and English and was visible on TV. The state can’t stay silent any longer.”
His wife and journalist, Sagarika Ghose, who complained to Delhi Police recently on getting threats on Facebook, said, “It is disturbing. We are agitated. We need to petition the government about a law. There is one in Maharashtra and we need to have such laws in other states. We are in the process of doing something on these lines so that we get legal and financial aid.”
News anchor Nidhi Razdan said it wasn’t true to say that Lankesh got attention, while others didn’t. “The Press Club of India and other journalists have come together during such instances. However, we are not doing enough. Things are changing now. There is realisation to stand up in unity against intimidation,” she said.
She said there is a need for fixing accountability and ensuring closure in such cases.