PUNE: "Expression, speech, language is what makes us human beings different from animals. It is our fundamental right, so we have to protect our right to express ourselves freely," Prof Ganesh Devy said. He was speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of 'Rashtrapita Mahatma Gandhi Saptah' on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti on Sunday.
Prof Ganesh Devy and senior journalist Shrinivas Jain, while speaking at Gandhi Bhavan, Kothrud, pointed out the need to protect the right to freedom of speech and expression in our country today.
"Next year, on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) International Congress will be held in Pune. To mark an occasion as huge as this, we need to make and showcase Pune as the city of free expression, to welcome writers and literary scholars from across the world here. We all have the responsibility to mobilise the people of Pune to help make it the city of free expression," Devy asserted.
However, he also mentioned that expression need not always mean noise, but silence too is a form of expression.
Speaking about the same issue, Shrinivas Jain said that freedom of press is the oxygen of democracy. "The society suffocates when the freedom of press is strangulated by a handful of influential figures in the country. Today, people in several groups have been protesting against the attack on freedom of press, which has been happening in the form of attacks on media outlets, journalists, etc. These are the signs of an undeclared emergency. However, the society isn't taking this seriously," Jain said.
On the threat to the freedom of media and attempts by influential people like politicians and corporate houses to control it, Jain added, "Media houses do try to challenge these threats, however, they soon go back to business-as-usual. It's only when we boycott the coverage of the politicians, will they understand the seriousness of the situation."