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  Opinion   Edit  29 May 2019  Don’t muzzle the press

Don’t muzzle the press

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 29, 2019, 1:00 am IST
Updated : May 29, 2019, 1:00 am IST

Things are said at the hustings and written in the media as well as social media that may have proved challenging.

Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy
 Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy

The Karnataka government of H.D. Kumaraswamy must withdraw the cases booked against the editor of a Kannada newspaper immediately to show it really believes in freedom of the press. In a vindictive step, the police filed criminal cases against the editor on charges of defamation, criminal intimidation, etc. This followed an article on the CM’s son’s disappointment at losing the Lok Sabha election to Ms Sumalatha, wife of late legislator-actor Ambareesh. The thrust of the article may have been questioned by the family, and a retraction was published. It was time to move on than escalate matters by filing criminal defamation charges, for which there is no place in a democracy that swears by freedom of speech and expression.

Things are said at the hustings and written in the media as well as social media that may have proved challenging. But the political class can't take umbrage and react like too many in this privileged section have done. It makes sense to move on after the people's voice has been heard and their choice registered in the polls. To interfere with the media's functioning is not only counterproductive, but also anathema to the foundations of a democratic republic. Suing for defamation is not meant to be used as a way to muzzle the press or pursue a personal agenda. There have been cases of action against individuals too over posts in the social media caricaturing or lampooning top leaders. All of it points to the illiberal ways of those in power, and it's high time that this ended.

 

Tags: h.d. kumaraswamy, defamation