So we criticise Comedy Nights with Kapil. And we criticise political leaders who make misogynistic statements.

So we criticise Comedy Nights with Kapil [link]. And we criticise (or strongly condemn) political leaders who make misogynistic statements.

I think there is a difference (Please correct me if I am wrong) – Comedy Nights with Kapil is not paid to represent us or our interests, it’s a commercial enterprise, we are free to disapprove and stop watching the show.

I don’t think we can or should attempt to silence misogynistic voices, one, because they have the right to voice their opinions (however offensive we find them), and two because there are probably many others who hold the same views and perhaps it would be much better to start a conversation about why the ideas are so offensive to us.

Silencing will not change misogynistic views – talking about them would ensure that the other more rational view is heard.

Silencing is not a good idea anyway. When the Silencing of Voices begins – it always begins with silencing of the unpopular voices first. Obviously.

There are countries where feminists (or Liberal views) are not allowed a Voice. That makes it very easy for feminists to be made unpopular, and since they are allowed no voice they have no opportunity to become ‘popular’. And unpopular voices are amongst the first to be silenced.

So if we want our own voices to be heard, we have no choice but to allow others the have their say too. Would some of us rather hear what we like to hear at the risk of being denied the Truth?

There can be no Freedom, Equality and Justice without the right to speech. And those who have the most power and most responsibility should be accountable to those they serve.

For example, what if we could not blog about these two cases?

‘The liberties that are guaranteed to our citizens, cannot be stretched beyond limits nor can such freedom be made weapons to destroy our fundamental values or social establishments like families’

Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC

Women have been denied the right to speech (or Freedom of Expression) for centuries and it lead to women being the least valued in the society, seen and valued only as future wives and daughters in law.

I think the only speech that should be censored is the one that directly leads to violence to others (Hate speech).

But this is only when equal citizens are in disagreement.

What about when we criticise political leaders who make misogynistic statements? (or say anything else we disagree with/disapprove of?) Unlike Comedy Nights we do pay them to represent us, and we have authorised them to make laws to ensure that our Fundamental Rights are protected.

I think we have more right to challenge political leaders who make statements that indicate that they are disrespectful of our Fundamental Rights – including the right to have a Voice and the rights to Justice and Equality.

Do you agree?

Related Posts:

“Tell me will you ever think of putting any posts on facebook after this?” “No.”

Is Democracy possible without a chance for everyone to argue about issues that matter to them?

So who said these words, and do you disagree?

What is it that you would never blog about?

Why do we hear concerned voices about ‘misuse of freedom’ the moment we talk about Freedom?

Are u ok if ur daughter smokes at 24yrs to express herself? Freedom of expression is quite quite difficult to practice.

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?

29 thoughts on “So we criticise Comedy Nights with Kapil. And we criticise political leaders who make misogynistic statements.

  1. Think your analysis is spot on. Freedom of speech is the best friend of minorities & those who seek change of any kind.

    And political correctness / well-intended censorship mechanisms of any kind will end up strengthening those who want status quo.

    Censorship of any kind usually leads to lack of catharsis. As you point out, it’s best to get all the hatred out into the open so that it can be discussed away, educated and defused.

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  2. We’re already far down the path of blocking things people don’t like to hear. Let’s show them how it’s done by disagreeing with the content and yet fighting for the right for them to say it.

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  3. “Silencing is not a good idea anyway. When the Silencing of Voices begins – it always begins with silencing of the unpopular voices first. Obviously.

    There are countries where feminists (or Liberal views) are not allowed a Voice.”

    Genuinely asking, are you implying that you are against silencing because it can backfire against the feminist movement ?

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    • Silencing will backfire against every liberal value, Democracy, tolerance, equality (because some voices will not be silenced, they will have the authority to choose who is to be silenced)… I am against silencing. Would rather hear those I disagree with than have them silenced – simply because there is no choice. What we are more likely to continue to see happening everywhere is silencing of liberal, non violent voices by aggressive violent forces.

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  4. Voice is the most important thing any margin can use to reach the centre. Well censorship always gets stuck in how much is right.
    Actually I believe yes the political leaders who make the laws that govern us do need to be questioned, checked and answerable to the women of the society but that does not mean that any other form of expression whether it is comical or otherwise can have a free hand in passing disrespectful statements about any minority.
    The jokes about men as compared to the jokes about women indicate how stereotypes work. Most about women refer to their physical appearance, lack of intelligence or sex-life.

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  5. Voice is the strongest weapon any margin has against the centre, though I agree that the political leaders because they are by default the lawmakers are more answerable in cases of gender insensitivity I would not abdicate any artist of his/her responsibility of creating content that is not disrespectful to any community.

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      • No art or expression should be banned in a healthy democracy as you rightly said except for hate speeches, but each expression whether its the news media or other creative forms like even painting or comedy should use some kind of self-censorship and introspection as to what stereotypes are they feeding and how those may be affecting many lives every day.

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        • And would you agree that we should be free to criticise and even trash it – so long as we are using words, not violence, it’s okay to express our disapproval or even dislike.

          If we were free to just say what every body wants to hear – why would be need Freedom of Expression?

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        • Words within the limits of acceptable decency even if they are of criticism or disapproval would be justified in a two way debate or discussion as far as TV programs or advertisement go we have the remote and can change ,overlook not give them that 0.000000001% of TRP that we generate if we disagree.
          A current example for me personally would be one of the ads where the tag line is born for the internet and an animated new born is made to do things that I find crude. But I know people who find the same actions amusing. I am democratic when I respect the others rights to express without compromising on my own,and expression is not only and always words.

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        • @IHM,
          …so long as we are using words, not violence,…

          Words can inflict lasting and detrimental violence on the social psyche. Stereotypes are created by words both written and orated the violence of words gets written in history in different color/ Example, dhor, ganwaar shudr aur nari ye sab tadan ke adhikari; aurat ki jaat hoti hi aisi hai, chhoti jaat ke log… etc. etc.

          Challenging the words that perpetuate stereotypes is as important as challenging any type of stereotypes and violence but the bottom line is selection of words that are powerful and clear in their intent. When one of the male politicians on a TV show saw that he is losing ground to a female panelist who was also a politician and TV actress he restored to calling her names, thumke lagane wali, this is how violence of words act out in everyday life. Losers ramble and create chaos of words and then complain being taken out of context. A person of conviction chooses his/her words carefully and powerfully leaving no scope for misinterpretation. Scope of repeat misinterpretation means someone is either an idiot or is willfully mincing words to create hate and chaos.
          Peace,
          DG

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  6. Agree with this post (and the bit about not censoring the content but disagreeing with it) though it does not address one thing – censorship when the message is primarily targetted at impressionable young minds. Yo yo Singh’s disgusting rap lyrics can be ignored and trashed as rubbish but it is the packaging that disturbs me. When such ‘products’ are perceived as ‘cool’ by this age group, something needs to be done, right? It need not be an outright ban on such misogynistic voices but severely limiting the reach atleast?
    I havent watched Kapil but from what I have heard, I doubt it is an ‘influencing’ program. Switching channels would be best I would think.

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    • I agree. Age appropriate material for those younger than say sixteen or eighteen?

      But we really should fight for the unpopular voices to ensure that silencing does not become the norm (it almost is😦 )

      Maybe we should learn much more about how we have no protection against opinions we disagree with, words we find distasteful, opinionated discussions, outraged disagreements, blasphemy etc. But that we do have the right to be safe (from violence, threats of violence and exploitation) no matter how unpopular our views are.

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      • Cant agree more with this – “But that we do have the right to be safe (from violence, threats of violence and exploitation) no matter how unpopular our views are”. Silencing of unpopular voices falls into 2 categories I think – majority (especially those that are accompanied with raging protests) are backed by political outfits for publicity – sadly no quick fix solutions for these except that we vote the right people to power. The other category is when those in power (or majority) seek to drown the voice of opposition for the simple reason that it suits them best (like the typical khap panchayat rulings). In such instances you wish the the courts would listen to you only to realise you are disappointed there too (the ones who rule that parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21 for instance)😦.

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    • Last week 2 teenager were given an opportunity to anchor a radio show and when DG asked them what song they wanted to play as filler they said yo yo’s some song. These kids sitting abroad oblivious to the meaning and context of music created in an alien country think just playing a song in their native tongue or culture of their forefathers is their way of honoring their ethnicity and culture. Challenging such innocent ignorance is equally important to give them food for thought.
      Peace,
      DG

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  7. I am all for the government not infringing upon people expressing whatever bigoted, backwards view they want. The day a third party starts controlling the messages and voice that people have is the day that we stop being a democracy.

    However, don’t expect me, or any other level headed person, to not point out that your opinion is wrong. And opinions can be wrong. Saying that a woman’s sole place is her home is wrong. Saying that women shouldn’t work is wrong. Saying that minorities don’t deserve equal rights and proper treatment is wrong. These are, in my mind, not opinions but views that are actually damaging and dehumanizing to the people around you. And no, such views should not be held, period.

    Also, much of the time, I see people being annoyed over the fact that they can’t say whatever willy-nilly backwards statement that they want, because the “feminsts/LGBT activists/insert oppressed group here” will loudly express their dismay, and apparently that’s an infringement upon their human rights. Again, freedom of speech means that the government cannot censor you. It doesn’t mean that I can’t tell you to shut the hell up, or that a group of people can’t vote to keep your bigoted views out of safe spaces for people (banning trolls would fall under this). You have a right to express your views, but that doesn’t mean that other people are required by law to hear them or agree with them, or not be offended by them.

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  8. Freedom of speech has always been conditional in India.

    Under this government, even speech on the Internet has been covered by a truly scary law, thanks to Mr.Kapil Sibal.
    As long as we had our ‘old’ bunch of laws relating to ‘hurt sentiments’ mostly prominent people were affected (MF Hussain for his goddess paintings, Taslima Nasreen for Lajja and Kamal Hassan/other movie makers).
    With Section 66A, that harrassment now potentially extends to ordinary people.

    So while India is a country with all sorts of voices, I think I can safely say that the lack of true freedom of speech is because of our laws.

    Apart from existing laws, Indira and Rajiv each tried to pass laws controlling press freedom. Luckily they failed.
    Sorry if this got a bit political. My point is freedom of speech has always faced threats in India..repeatedly.
    In the age of social media, most people do not realise how big an infringement the new IT laws are, and how there is massive potential for misuse.

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  9. It’s said and known fact that it’s easy to make a joke on one’s agony. It needs a real talent to make a joke on oneself. That’s why TV is called as an idiot box. Stay away from it when you think it’s affecting you.

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  10. THe above comment says it all ..

    dont you think this freedom of speech has also made us very very critical too,, I wonder what people will say when they see stand up comedians like michael macyntyre or bhishop or others .. glad these comedians dont come to india🙂

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  11. My thoughts exactly. Except for one.

    There is a admissibility about blocking “Hate Speech”

    what is definition & certification for qualifying? A Speech which directly results in violence to others.

    That means if someone is arguing for equality and so on and because of that a group happens to inflict violence? Hate Speech? this is dubious.

    In my view no voice should be blocked. We need a society of people who are processing what they hear. I know that too far a mile stone till then if we could work of Police reforms and keep law and order in place there wont be any mishaps.

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