The right to free speech in India –as in many other parts of the world– is increasingly under threat from multiple sources: agencies of the state, non-state actors of various hues, vigilante and corporate interests that dictate content. Self-censorship is on the rise, as are the attempts to eliminate and silence those who seek to speak the truth. For journalists, bloggers, artists, authors, film-makers, Right to Information Activists and even citizens, freedom of expression is fraught with risks, from murderous attacks to harassment, intimidation, online abuse and implication in false cases.
While the media landscape has become more diverse, presenting myriad opportunities for dissemination of news and opinion in ever-more creative ways, fragmentation of the legacy media has caused immense alienation and poses a serious challenge to journalists in organizing for their rights.
However, despite the bleak times and muzzling of free speech, there are many who are pushing back, through their writings, pictures, art and music. It is these voices of hope that must be nurtured and woven into a collective consciousness.
The FreeSpeechCollective aims to protect the right to freedom of expression and vigorously promote free speech and the right to dissent. We aim to do this by:
Monitoring and documenting
FSC will track violations of free speech and systematically categorize them, besides tracking the status of the case.
Do you have a violation of free speech to report?
Send us an email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on the systematic monitoring and documentation of violations, we will have regular publication of trends and a spotlight on developments, news alerts and briefs.
We will carry articles and commentaries that discuss and debate issues, provide an analysis of major developments that impact Freedom of Expression and develop a sharper understanding of tricky questions that impinge free speech.
Providing solidarity and support
FreeSpeechCollective is committed to providing support and solidarity to individual journalists, bloggers, activists, artists and performers and organisations that face attacks on their freedom of expression and campaign against violations.
Who we are
Journalists, activists and lawyers from different parts of India have come together to launch the FreeSpeechCollective.
The Core Team
Geeta Seshu is a journalist based in Mumbai engaged in issues concerning freedom of expression, working conditions of journalists, gender and civil liberties.
Laxmi Murthy is a journalist based in Bangalore who works on issues of press freedom, gender and journalists’ rights.
Malini Subramaniam is an independent journalist based in Hyderabad. She covers peoples’ struggles, stories from the ‘conflict’ region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, as well as challenges faced by regional journalists in the country.
Moazum Mohammad reports from Kashmir on armed insurgency, politics, the media and everything that catches his eye. Moazum has written on government employees moonlighting as journalists, on censorship and internet blackouts. He has covered India’s biggest corruption scam 2G spectrum and written extensively in Kashmir Reader, thehoot, Caravan, The Pioneer, Quartz, Roads & Kingdom and Scroll.in.
Sarita Ramamoorthy is a Mumbai-based freelance content writer and editor. She has worked with NGOs for nearly a decade. She can be found at www.theorangebox.co.in
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”