Pragyan’s flagship panel discussion Crossfire was held in Barn Hall on the 16th of March 2019. The topic for this edition was “Do we have the right to free speech or just compliant speech?”, a pertinent discussion given the current scenario.
The panel for the occasion featured an array of eminent personalities on both sides of the discussion which included, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, co-founder for the Centre for Law and Policy Research, Satyam Singh Rajput, founder of the Justice for Rights Foundation, Sukumar Muralidharan, associate professor at O.P. Jindal Global University, Anjali Bharadwaj, co-convenor for the National Campaign for People’s Right for Information (NCPRI), Manoj Mitta, senior editor of Times of India, B. Suresh, human rights lawyer. The discussion was moderated by Narayanan Madhavan, senior journalist, who previously with major media houses like Reuters, Economic Times, Indian Express.
The discussion aimed to define the need for regulating the fundamental idea for freedom and to identify the reforms entailed in our political and judicial system. The session opened with comments from both sides of the motion, which involved the panel’s interpretation of the
motion, given their experiences.The panelists debated on key ideas such as journalistic freedom given the nature of how we interpret nationalism, how the free speech works in the cyberspace and discussed the necessity for the sedition law in the current context.
Mr. Krishnaswamy brought out the concept of internet intermediate liabilities and touched upon how regulation will become an indispensable requirement for the future governance of the internet. Ms. Anjali glossed over the criticality of the right to information act and established its importance in today’s democracy. The crossfire came to an end with further statements on viewing India’s social fabric and censorship. The Q&A that followed witnessed
insightful questions on tolerance, regulation of internet companies.