C.V. Shreya, Tamil Nadu National Law University, Tiruchirappalli
A democracy without dissent is not a democracy at all, and it is around this central idea that this article is written. The author takes a critical approach towards studying the trends of censorship in India, starting from the darkest age of Indian democracy, in 1975 following the declaration of emergency, until as recently as the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Taking reference to recent events and media reports, the article aims to provide the reader with an in depth understanding of where modern India stands in the global arena, when trend studies show that governments of other states are growing increasingly tolerant to content creators. The article studies various facets of censorship ranging from press freedom, film censorship and unreasonable restraints on the freedom of speech of an individual. The term censorship in the title is to be construed broadly, to mean any curtailment of expression. The author briefly studies the role of the central government in India’s censorship policies and studies the implications of the recent shift towards increased censorship observed in India. The article concludes with an eye opening comparison between the censorship regime of Indian and North Korea, and the individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression, and the role of the Apex Court in protecting the same.
Keywords: Censorship, Freedom of Speech, Film, Press, Contempt of Court and Media