16 March 2012

BY ANNE - A TENTATIVE STEP

In this second post in our #MakeBloggers series, Anne lists out some of the actions any blogger anywhere can take to defend his or her right to free speech. You can read the original post on Anne’s blog, A Tentative Step, where it was published on 26 February 2012.

“or forever hold your tongue….

That, i suppose is the gist of a lengthy debate on freedom of expression, censorship and cyber laws that i attended today. surrounded by several rather well known/notorious/ seriously active activist- blogger- thinkers, i was wondering where a discussion that has all the potential to disintegrate into pure intellectual- political state anti establishment rhetoric will actually go.. While for a bit it did veer into the “the state of affairs is rather depressing” mode, the end result of the conference was actually a strong resolve to involve people and evolve a strategy to ensure that cyberspace atleast remains as free as we can keep it.. Ultimately, it is upto the users of cyberspace to crate as much awareness as possible to ensure their own safety, privacy and freedom to say and write anything and everything they want…So what IS it that a simple person sitting in some corner of the country do?

  • SPEAK UP.. if there is anyone who is trying to shut down your voice, speak louder.. contact other bloggers, develop a network that will ultimately ensure that if you are unduly harassed then you have backup.
  • NETWORK. create a support system. not just for yourself but also for every other person out there who is after all trying simply to be heard in this cacophonic world.
  • SELF REGULATE. No one else has the right to tell you what to say or not say.. but try and stay away from deliberately insulting anyone or saying things that you would deem offensive if you were talking to friends about. it is quite strange that all discussions about censorship and regulation portray ‘government’ and ‘corporations’ as the big bad wolf threatening to huff puff and blow away our right of free speech, but ultimately MOST bloggers will self censor their own posts or comments on their blog with an eye on how their family/society/friends/ sensibilities will react. Ultimately, the government is only policing once “somebody” has deemed something offensive. Even in today’s world, it is not so much the threat of the law coming down on our heads but a more sophisticated version of “Log Kya Kahenge” that governs most of one’s actions.So please, avoid tension, outrage and possible lawsuits, and refrain from saying things that you wouldn’t want said about you without proper proof..

oh and before i forget.. THANK YOU to the Internet Democracy Project and everyone at today’s conference for the amazingly informative day”.


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