Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
bloggers, free speech, india, opinions

Indian Blogger Sued, Forced To Apologize, For Criticizing Journalist And Quoting Wikipedia

from the free-speech-isn't-free dept

Reader VivekM alerts us to an unfortunate news story in India, where a blogger who was critical of a journalist's coverage of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last year was sued for his blog post, and then forced to take down the post and apologize. The specific issue appeared to be over a quote taken from a Wikipedia article about the journalist, rather than any actual personal attack on the journalist. Of course, in forcing the blogger to take down the content, it's kicked up quite a lot of attention and a fire storm of protest from numerous Indian bloggers who feel that this is an attack on free speech. Defamation laws are all too often used to stifle free speech, and it doesn't look like India has any sort of anti-SLAPP law to prevent these sorts of legal attacks. There's nothing wrong with being offended or bothered about criticism, but there are plenty of ways to respond to criticism without resorting to lawsuits.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    NullOp, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Free Speech?

    I was not aware there were any laws assuring free speech in India. Of course the attack IS against free speech. Almost no one is pro free speech when something is being said that they determine does not portray them in the best light. I wonder if the site where the blog actually resided is in India. If not, do Indian laws apply?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 5:32pm

    The worst part is this aggressive journalist Burkha Dutta pretends to be a big guard of free speech.

    There is free speech in India. But most of the time it is suppressed to protect against defamation. It is a sorry situation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    QA, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re: Free Speech?

    The Constitution of India guarantees the Freedom of speech and expression to its citizens under Article 19(1) however it seems to be so limited in scope because of "reasonable restrictions" imposed on it by article 19(2), in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India,the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court,defamation or incitement to an offence.

    It is an unfortunate things as even the supreme Court of India has taken criticism as contempt of court and denied the freedom of speech to its citizens(Arundhati Roy case)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    QA, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:59am


    Yes,she is aggressive, insensitive and so full of herself that in the zeal of being the first and most effective journalist she has lost any sight of ethical journalism or correct reporting.

    Next , maybe she will sue us on Facebook- the group with over 4000 members- Please Take Barha off Air- just goes onto show her "popularity" ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Sandip Dev, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:09pm

    Defamation laws

    Well I have been getting a few "I will sue you" messages from some people over some of the content on my blog. What are the laws? Can people really sue me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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