In the recent wake of the attack on the Journalist of French Publication Charlie Hebdo, Amity Law School, Noida organized a Panel Discussion on “Challenges to Freedom of Expression by Radicals” at Amity Campus, Sector 125, Noida.
The panelist consisted of eminent speakers including Mr. Sebastien Fraces,South Asia Correspondent for Radio France; Mr. Madhav Chaturvedi, Senior Journalist, Press Trust of India and Prof. AK Kantroo, Former Professor of Law at Amity Law School.
Enlightening the participants about Freedom of Speech and Expression, MajGen (Prof.) Nilendra Kumar, Director, Amity School Noida said that it is common knowledge that Article 19 (1) (a) and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution lays down fundamentals of Freedom of Speech and Expression which allows to freely express or communicate thoughts through any medium such as print, visual, and voice. Freedom of speech would amount to nothing if it were not possible to propagate the ideas. He further added that the attack on Charlie Hebdo is an attack and challenge to Freedom of Speech. However, he emphasized that the free speech has certain limitations to it that needs to follow.
Sharing his views on Secularism, Mr. Sebastien Fraces said that Secularism in France is much broader as it has underpinned the French Revolution and has been a basic tenet of the country's progressive thought since the 18th Century.He added that secularity in a state is when people are free to practice their religion and guarantees peaceful co-existence with respect to the laws and principles of the Republic. Condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo, he said that the publication was a satirical magazine which has been criticizing the religious activities but cannot be termed as racist. Mr. Fraces apprised that the Constitution and Governing Institutions in France support an open press environment, although certain laws limit aspects of press freedom in practice,such as media organizations that are restricted to publish or broadcast any content that insights violence, racism or hatred.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Madhav Chaturvedi said that the issue of Freedom of Speech and Expression, which has risen after terrorist attack on the media house, is not just restricted to the Freedom of Press but is about the Freedom of Speech of every section of society. He further added that the Indian freedom fighters or revolutionaries had always been associated with some or the other type of media; hence, Media in India has been free and independent throughout most of its history. He commended the Indian Constitution for giving people the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression and also Right to Freedom of Religion. He feels that these two rights have posed various controversies at many stages.
Sharing his views on Freedom of Press, Mr. Ashok Kantroo said that we have lost the Freedom to Know or Information as many works are been banned that people might like to read or watch. He added that Freedom of Information is correlated to Freedom of Speech and Expression. Mr. Kantroo emphasized that one cannot justify terrorism with any level of provocation.
During the panel discussion,participants posed pertinent questions which were efficiently addressed by the panelists. More than 200 students of Amity University attended the Panel Discussion.