Post Mortem

In defence of the right to freedom of expression

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/24/2018 11:43:45 AM IST

 Everyone knows that freedom of expression is a cornerstone in a democracy. Everyone also knows that the world is full of lies. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to safeguard “freedom of expression” so that the lies of the world can be exposed through the right to freedom of expression.

 When we talk about the lies of the world, we must understand how these lies are presented to us through the media. Now, a clear lie is not difficult for anybody to detect and denounce. But when a lie is mixed and interwoven with some truths, it becomes very difficult to separate the lies from the truth. As for the busy general public who have no time to scrutinize public statements, they eventually accept “mixed up lies and truth statements” as facts when it is repeatedly stated over a long period of years. This is particularly true, when such statements are backed by powerful State political machineries like the Armed Forces Special powers Act etc. 

In the context of our national struggle, some of our guilty political leaders and their helpers have become great experts in this voluminous deception game of mixing the truth with lies in order to justify their mistakes. Here, it is a herculean, as well risky task, to separate these lies from the truths and re-present the facts to the general public. Such a re-presentation of the true facts requires thousands of hours of research and interviews to finally separate the truth from the camouflaged lies.

However, a most frustrating thing for a researcher is when an Editor of a public media (or Newspaper), denies the researcher, the right to freedom of expression because the Editor does not subscribe to the writer’s point of view even if the article is backed up with facts of dates and names. In such a case, the “Editor,” who should be a champion for freedom of expression, has become a “Blocker” to freedom of expression. In this context, a well informed Editor may totally disagree with an article written by a member of the public. Such an Editor may even be able to present a thoroughly opposite version of the article based on facts. But the editor concerned, still owes the member of the public, his right to freedom of expression. This is more so because the public columns in any Newspaper always caries a disclaimer stating that whatever is written in the column does not necessarily carry the approval or policy of the Paper concerned.

For quite a long time, our local Newspapers have been accommodating and featuring many controversial articles in their Newspapers. The general public (including me), are very grateful to all the editors for upholding the principle of freedom of expression. But I have written this article because some of our local papers are not featuring articles that they do not agree with. Here, all writers are aware of the fact that an Editor of a paper has an obligation not to publish an article or point of view that could lead to public disorder. Writers are also aware that every Editor has his own schedule to publish any article according to his own timing and sequence. But no Editor has any right to deny the public, the right to freedom of expression. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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