Defamation is a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misinterpretation of someone’s words or actions. It is more of an abusive attack on a person’s character or good name. It’s rather simpler to critique something than to actually appreciate it. However, with the numerous critics in the country and the world at large, there are comparatively very few people who actually pick out the good and comment sensibly. Everyone has opinions and with technology at the tip of our fingers, we are entitled to publishing our opinions, regardless of what stand we take. Publication of opinions also comes with a set of rule books, not just a small list of rules because the Law is always amending and the lawbreakers are getting smarter.
Once upon a time when working for the Media used to be exciting because people-focussed only on reporting the information, not jutting their opinions on it. Why has the media become such a chaotic circus with journalists being opinionated? In that case, everyone should be entitled to their opinions and be taken as important as our very VVIPs. Ridiculous isn’t it? One does not have to show proof to have an opinion. It is solely their opinion and in the pandemonium of speaking out opinions, abuse of power is resulted in. Opinions may be very personal and may only be shared on a social media site with privacy settings. So, what right does that give anyone to defame an individual on a social media website? No right, isn’t it, because defamation does not justify “being opinionated”. Also, this would prove that it is probably okay to support an individual but not negatively critic them? That is certainly some hypocrisy shown. Unfortunately, media persons have become opinionated which changed the whole direction of how news is reported because the headlines, the news, they all direct the public to think in a particular manner and it’s surely okay, right?
The age-old Tanmay Bhat controversy of a silly Snapchat video was absolutely uncalled for as well. Then they say India is a democratic country where we are entitled to our opinions. Who decides what is offensive and who decides what isn’t? When there were millions of trolls over Rahul Gandhi while he was campaigning for the elections, how is it justified if people get offended if someone trolled over Modi, only because they like them? This is the heights of double standards in our country, including media persons, political supporters and many more. There are millions of people in the country who do not like the Shiv Sena and the ideologies that do not mean they go ahead and behead every single person who supports them. Something that offends me might not offend you, but it’s funny to see how media persons today are so hungry for news that insensitivity has been taken to a very different level.
According to Articles 19, 20, 21, and 22 of the Indian Constitution which deals with the Freedom of Press, the Freedom of Press has three elements and they are-
Freedom to access all sources of information
Freedom of publication
Freedom of circulation.
However, surprisingly, that DOES NOT include defaming an individual because, under clause 2 of Article 19, it prevents any person from making any a statement that injures the reputation of another. With the very same view, defamation has been criminalized in India by inserting it into Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.
So, coming back to defamation, when an individual feels the country is actually going underway, they cannot even share it on a social media website? I disagree, because if people want to get offended, they certainly will, regardless. Unfortunately, India is a country where money and power speak more than the truthful mouths of its very citizens and hypocritically, India is democratic and secular and what not. If I don’t like a film, why can’t I directly tweet the actor about it and how do I know how weak his sentiments may be that he may or may not get offended? So, defamation certainly does manipulate and restrict our freedom to express in several ways. Even so, what are we doing about it? We continue to use derogatory terms and maltreat people we dislike, regardless of who they are, because the preamble starts off with “We” and not “They”. We are an equal part of the country as much as our politicians, sportspersons, actors, and many more VVIPs are. So, you choose, would you stand by your opinion regardless of what happens or stay restricted and chitchat in worry about the same with your neighbors and friends?