This article was last updated on May 25, 2022
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“If you find Honey Singh offensive, kill him by not listening to his songs,” remarked a speaker throughout a session on freedom of speech in the Jaipur Literature Festival today.
Taking part in the session, journalist Shoma Chaudhury touched upon the current controversy over rapper Singh and the music, saying no thanks one should be stopped from doing any kind of culture and art performance.
“If you find Honey Singh offensive then boycott him. Kill him by not listening to his music. However, you can’t ban him,” Chaudhury, managing editor of Tehelka magazine, said.
Singh was the centre of the controversy when many groups ran an offer against him over alleged offensive lyrics of his songs.
Chaudhury said India must become a more liberal society.
“We have to become a more liberal society and defend the freedom. The only narrow restriction we should have ought to be on incitement of violence and discrimination through speech,” she said.
“We have to throw open the content 19(2) in our Constitution which restricts our speech…There isn’t any exception to freedom of speech…aside from cases which could incite violence we ought to have no curb,” she added.
The majority of the panelists and the audience expressed the country lacks freedom of expression when panel moderator John Kampfner asked these to vote on whether or not they think India has an excessive amount of freedom of expression, India has less freedom of expression which freedom of expression is adequate.
“Raise you to whatever option you believe is right,” Kampfner, who’s adviser to Google on freedom of expression and culture, said. For this, majority of the audience raised their hands if this was so named India has less freedom of expression.
Few also raised their hands for that option that India has enough freedom.
The panelists also comprised historian Orlando Figes, John Kampfner, author Basharat Peer and novelist John Burnside.
Figes, most widely known for his works on Russian history, particularly A People’s Tragedy stated, “There ought to be a market of free ideas. We ought to talk out our different views. Before you decide to have free speech you should give authority to individuals to have free thoughts.”
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