Karnataka Sahitya Sammelana

Focus on safeguarding freedom of expression

Huge draw: A large number of people participated on the last day of the 83rd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in Mysuru on Sunday.  

The threat to freedom of expression today drew special attention on the last day of the 83rd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in the city on Sunday.

Speakers emphasised the imperatives of safeguarding the right. They shed light on the spectre of cultural terrorism under the guise of nationalism that was increasingly manifesting itself across the country.

Writer Vinaya Vakkunda drew attention to recent incidents to buttress her argument. She cited the example of the arrest of cartoonist G. Bala in Tamil Nadu on the charge of obscene representation of the State’s Chief Minister and a few officials in a cartoon. The focus should have been on trying to understand the irony being projected by the cartoonist instead, she said.

Likewise, the ongoing protest over the Bollywood film Padmavathi came under analysis. Ms. Vakkunda pointed out that those opposing the movie without having watched it had also issued threats against the actress and the film director, all of which was evidence of the growing culture of intolerance in society.

Though the Constitution has guaranteed the right to freedom of expression, one needs to ask if the right still exists at all, she added, and termed the growing tendency of suppressing free thought as a manifestation of fascism. She also lamented society’s collective amnesia of past events that results in a lowering of guard against the fascist forces

“There is darkness at noon due to cultural terrorism manifesting in society. This was evident when people celebrated the death of Gauri Lankesh,” Ms. Vakkunda said.

Freedom of expression is an acknowledgement of the individual’s right to follow a way of life but is under threat, she added.

Referring to the present scenario Ms. Vakkunda said there was undeclared emergency in the country and the media was increasingly coming under the control of the capitalists working in tandem with the government to muzzle the thought process.

Writers Pradhan Gurudutt, session president Kalegowda Nagavar, and sahitya sammelana president Chandrashekar Patil were among those present.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:16:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/focus-on-safeguarding-freedom-of-expression/article20946052.ece

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