The on-going controversy that The Caravan and Arindam Choudhari have been embroiled in raises a few concerns. How free really is freedom of speech?
When a perfect-in-all-ways article, that takes a dig at a well-known personality, is forced to be taken off the internet, it’s no laughing matter. It’s journalism, straight-jacketed.
Here’s what the magazine has to say:
In February this year, Siddhartha Deb wrote an incisive, witty and meticulously detailed article in The Caravan on the phenomenon called Arindam Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri has slapped a 500-million rupee lawsuit against the magazine. (He is also suing Penguin India and Google.)
In response to a court order, the magazine had to take the article off its website.
To support its fight against the poverty of imagination, intolerance of free speech and lack of humour, please circulate this post widely and feature it on the social media you use.
Appended is a mail from the Deputy Editor, Vinod Jose:
The February cover story in the Caravan, Advertisements for Myself, has provoked Arindam Chaudhuri to move to court. IIPM went to a district court in Assam, and the local judge granted him an injunction order, ex-parte, without any pre-hearing notice to us. The details are on the homepage of the website and the press release is here. We stand by the reportage of Siddhartha Deb, accomplished writer and university professor in New York. We need your support for this important issue of freedom of press.
The Caravan intends to fight this suit because we believe that we must defend the right of journalists to report on controversial subjects or persons without undue fear of legal intimidation from powerful entities or organisations that seek to insulate themselves from criticism. Kindly publicise the matter through your blogs/facebook/twitter etc.
Thank you very much, Vinod Jose.