“You never know what’s in store in the future. I could get killed, or I could live a normal life,” Yameen Rasheed told me as we were walking around the Islamic Center in Male’, the capital of the Maldives. It was a bright sunny day in 2016. We had just had a nice lunch in a nearby restaurant during which I had asked him why didn’t he focus on his career in information technology – another brilliant talent of his. He told me that he couldn’t, as writing has become a part of his life, and he would rather choose to live with threats than live in a pretended peace. Continue reading
“By letting the newspaper print my works, I’ve probably undervalued my works.”
Dr Govinda KC spoke those words in a packed hall of Hotel Annapurna on April 24, 2010 in an event that was organized by Nagarik & Republica daily to let 15 social heroes doing selfless service to the societies tell their stories. Dr KC was one of 15 and was most reluctant to appear on newspaper or speak in the event.
I was told it needed a lot of persuasion to ensure he is available for the event – and I clearly told the hall why he was reluctant.
A story that appeared on the same day in the newspapers’ supplements began with: “The surest way to locate Dr Govinda KC is to go looking for him in that part of the globe where a major natural disaster has just struck.” Continue reading
On Wednesday, Dec 19, Rajdhani national daily newspaper published a front-page photo of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi. The five-column photo shows Regmi standing while PM seems to be bowing to CJ with his hands joined together.
The captain says: “Need Support Your Honor: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai who is also the Minister of Law greeting Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi during his participation in a program organized to mark 22nd anniversary of Justice Council.”
(to mark the International Human Rights Day)
How you feel if someone says: “Eat as much as you can (before the food is ready)” and when the food is ready, you are told: “That’s enough: you are eating too much.”
That’s exactly what is happening with our rights to freedom of expression and opinion!
Citizens around the world living in democratic countries were guaranteed rights to freedom of expression for long. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated long ago in 1948 by UN General Assembly, has explicitly stated it in Article 19.
All democratic nations around the world have copied, rephrased/translated and pasted the text in their constitutions. As citizens we’ll thought well we’ve individually rights to freedom of expression and opinion.
We didn’t have a powerful medium through which we could effectively exercise the rights and we were made to believe media is mediating the rights on behalf of us.
But we are being deceived!
The Internet emerged as a powerful medium that every individual around the world could use to exercise the rights to freedom of expression and opinion. When blogging emerged, it was evident. If blogs were difficult to set up and continued, then social media (on internet) is the easiest tool to use to express ourselves. Continue reading
[To mark the International Day of Democracy]
Artist Manish Harijan painted a few arts depicting Hindu god and goddess in poses that were disliked by many people. Some, including the former army colonel and head of a Hindu group, decided to register a case against him and issue the death threats. The controversy ended after the artist and the exhibitor Sangeeta Thapa agreed to remove two of the paintings and signed a paper agreeing not to paint and exhibit such images in future. The artists were furious over the compromise made over the Freedom of Expression by Thapa, and the role played by the administration.
Those incidents brought a big discussion on Social Media. I generally said that artists should be able to exercise his freedom of artistic expression and people thinks it’s legally not acceptable they can seek judicial remedy. I also said that issuing death threat is against the law. People can dislike his painting but that shouldn’t translate into threatening him of consequences.
Many of the people expressed that they didn’t like it. Some of them wrote foul and threatening words to the artist. Continue reading